New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved the re-issuance of an ordinance making the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence, said reports on Friday. The earlier ordinance, issued in September last year, was to expire on January 22, hence the Cabinet move on Thursday.
A bill on the same is pending in Rajya Sabha where the Opposition has resisted its passage. An ordinance has a shelf life of just six months. It has to be replaced by a bill passed by Parliament within 42 days from the day the session begins, or it lapses. The government can re-promulgate the ordinance if the bill fails to get through Parliament.
On December 17, the Centre introduced a fresh bill in Lok Sabha to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence to replace the ordinance issued in September. While Lok Sabha gave its approval to the bill, it remained stuck in the Rajya Sabha and is now pending its approval.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh bill superceded an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, which would’ve replaced the ordinance, contained safeguards which made it clear that only the affected woman or her blood relative could file a complaint with police against the husband instead of anyone lodging a complaint as provided in the previous version of the bill.
The earlier bill was also approved by the Lower House. But amid opposition in the Upper House, the Government had cleared some amendments, including the introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable.
Since it continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the Government issued an ordinance in September 2018, incorporating the amendments.