Union Cabinet has passed the Ordinance to amend provisions of the Triple Talaq Bill. The Ordinance was approved by President Ram Nath Kovind. The official name for the law is the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Ordinance 2018
According to the ordinance, giving instant Triple Talaq has been made illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Seeking to allay fears that the law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial. These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on 29 August.
The Ordinance states that even though the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 is pending in the Rajya Sabha and despite the Supreme Court has observed that the practice of Triple Talaq is unconstitutional, the practice still carries on.
Here are a few of the key features of the Ordinance:
• The Ordinance is applicable to the whole of India but it is not extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir
• According to the Ordinance, any pronouncement of ‘talaq’ by a Muslim husband to his wife in any manner, spoken or written, shall be void and illegal.
• Any Muslim husband who communicates the ‘talaq’ orally or in writing may face a punishment upto three years in jail. The punishment may be also extended.
• The Ordinance also states that despite the presence of general laws in force, if a Muslim man pronounces ‘talaq’ to his wife, then the woman and her children are entitled to receive an allowance for subsistence. Such amount can be determined by a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class.
• The Ordinance also states that a Muslim woman is entitled to the custody of her minor children even if her husband has pronounced ‘talaq’ to her.
• The offence is pronouncing talaq is cognizable if the Muslim woman on whom it is pronounced, communicates the information to a police officer.
• The offence is also compoundable, if the Muslim woman insists for the same and the Magistrates allows certain terms and conditions which he may determine.
• A person accused of this offence cannot be granted bail unless an application is filed by the accused after a hearing in the presence of the Muslim woman (on whom talaq is pronounced) is conducted and the Magistrate is satisfied about the reasonable grounds for granting bail.