Instant triple talaq: Govt’s draft law can send husband to jail for 3 years
A man attempting to divorce his wife through instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, written or communicated through electronic means like instant messages and emails — can be handed out three years’ imprisonment and a fine.
The government will bring a bill in the winter session of Parliament to criminalise instant Triple Talaq, or Talaq-e-biddat, and accord rights of maintenance and a child’s custody to its victim, according to a top source in the law ministry.
A man attempting to divorce his wife through instant triple talaq in any form including words spoken, written or communicated through electronic means like instant messages and emails can be handed out a sentence of three years in prison and a fine, the proposed law states. The offence will be cognisable and non-bailable.
Talaq-e-biddat is a custom under Muslim personal law that allows a man to divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq” thrice. Though a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court struck down the practice as illegal on August 22, it has continued, the source involved in drafting the bill, said.
“Before the judgement this year, there were 177 reported cases of Talaq-e-biddat. Since then, there have been 67. These are only reported cases, the actual figure could be much higher,” the official added, explaining the rationale behind the proposed law.
Titled the ‘Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017’, the proposed law also gives a “victim” of Talaq-e-Biddat a right to seek maintenance from her husband before a magistrate’s court. She will also be entitled to her children’s custody, the draft law says.
Since marriage and divorce are subjects that fall under the concurrent list of the Constitution, the law ministry has also written to state governments seeking their views “urgently” on the proposed legislation.
The bill has been drafted by the law ministry on the recommendations of a high-powered committee set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The committee also included minister of state in the PMO Jitender Singh and junior law minister PP Chaudhary.
“Despite the SC judgement, cases of instant triple talaq came to light. The police were helpless and the victim women did not know what to do. A strong need was felt to deter erring Muslim husbands,” a member of the committee said. Government officials have dubbed the proposed law as progressive and a “socially enumerative legislation.”