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India government approves draft legislation banning instant triple talaq

17 December 2017, 01:55 | Rodolfo Quinn

Union Cabinet clears bill, makes triple talaq criminal offence

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Launching a scathing attack, firebrand leader Owaisi wrote the bill could end up a tool in the hands of law enforcement to discriminatory detention and arrest of Muslims.

Calling it a historic decision, Prasad said: 'Many state governments have supported the move to introduce this bill.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 got the Cabinet nod at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to the draft law prepared by an inter- ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, giving instant triple talaq will be "illegal and void" and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. In August, the Supreme Court said in a landmark ruling that the practice of Muslim men uttering "talaq" three times for an instant divorce is unconstitutional, reported NDTV.

A bill seeking to criminalise instant triple talaq among Muslims and providing for a three-year jail term was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Friday. Therefore, legally, at best, the issuance of such triple talaq can be considered as abandonment under existing law, including the Indian Penal Code.

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"In the process the Muslim women have been denied their Quranic rights as well as their constitutional rights as Indian citizens", said the letter to newly anointed Congress president.The letter pointed out that almost all Muslim countries in the world such as Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and even Bangladesh and Pakistan have codified personal laws governing marriage and family matters, but Indian Muslim women continue to be denied the protection of law.

'I can not make comments on the details of the bill or strategy to be followed in the Parliament except to affirm that this bill is created to give a shield to the helpless victims of instant triple talaq'.

Zakia Soman, founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and a co-petitioner in the triple talaq case in SC, said the bill once passed will definitely act as a deterrent. The bill is yet to be made public but we want it to be just and fair.

"If the community and the Personal Law Board was doing enough why would be the women (triple talaq victims) be coming to women's organisation?", asked Soman. We are all citizens in a democracy and living in the 21st century. The board should have solved it by themselves.

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