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Union Cabinet approves an ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence

The Union Cabinet Wednesday approved an ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government failed to pass it through both the houses of Parliament.

During the Monsoon session, triple talaq bill was deferred to the next session after the parties in the Rajya Sabha failed to reach an agreement over the amended bill.

The Lok Sabha cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, in December but it has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP-led NDA is in minority.

The bill criminalises the Islamic practice of divorcing by uttering the word “talaq” thrice in any form – spoken, in writing, or over electronic communication.

The bill presented in the Rajya Sabha included three changes.

The first amendment cleared by the Centre allows only a woman, or a close relative, to file a police case against her husband for instant triple talaq by uttering the word “talaq” (divorce) thrice.

The second amendment allows her to drop the case if the husband comes around later and they arrive at a compromise.

The government, however, has not toned down the three-year jail penalty for the husband or the provision that only empowers a magistrate, and not a local police officer, to release the accused on bail.

The third amendment mandates that the magistrate can decide on releasing the husband on bail only after hearing the wife. This was one of the demands made by the Opposition.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court had declared instant talaq illegal and unconstitutional.

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