Lok Sabha to discuss triple talaq bill on Dec 27, Congress agrees on debate

NEW DELHI: The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, commonly known as triple talaq bill, will be discussed in the Lok Sabha on December 27.

The Bill — which is aimed to protect the rights of married Muslim women and prohibit divorce by pronouncing talaq by their husbands — that was part of Thursday’s legislative business was postponed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan following the request of Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge.

Soon after Mahajan asked Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) MP N.K. Premchandran to speak over the Bill, which was listed for the legislative business for consideration and passage, Kharge stood and requested her to defer the discussion to December 27.

Calling it a very important Bill, Kharge said: “The opposition wants a healthy discussion over the Bill. I request you to defer the debate on the Bill to December 27.”

Assuring that the opposition will peacefully debate over the Bill on the date he requested for, Kharge also sought enough time for discussion over the matter.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was to move the Bill on Thursday, also sought Kharge’s assurance for a “peaceful” debate over the Bill on December 27.

With a voice vote, Mahajan gave her nod to defer the discussion on the Bill.

The fresh bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday to replace an ordinance issued in September. Under this proposed law, Muslim men giving instant triple talaq will attract imprisonment of three years.

The ordinance was passed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet as this bill could not be tabled on the last day of the Monsoon session held in September, owing to a lack of consensus among political quarters.

The central government gave nod to a number of crucial amendments to the Ordinance, including a provision for bail to an accused before the commencement of trial. The other amendment cleared by the Centre includes allowing only a woman or her close kin to file a police case against her spouse for instant triple talaq.

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As per the Ordinance, the victim is also allowed to drop the case if her spouse comes around later and they arrive at a compromise. It also mandates that the magistrate can decide on releasing the husband on bail only after hearing the wife’s stance.

In accordance with the Ordinance, a Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared is entitled to get subsistence allowance from her spouse for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate hearing the case.

The current Ordinance also allows victims to seek custody of her minor children; however, the manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate. It also makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.

The issue of triple talaq was taken up in the Parliament after in August last year, a five-judge bench of the apex court ruled unconstitutional a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering “talaq” three times in quick succession.