India has approved a bill identifying an instant ‘talaq’ as punishable offence, which would give Muslim women the right to seek maintenance in case of triple ‘talaq’.
The proposed legislation is likely to be tabled in the ongoing winter session of parliament, which began today.
The draft law provides for three years in prison and a fine for a Muslim man trying to divorce his wife by uttering “talaq” three times.
As per the draft, tripe talaq or talaq-e-biddat will be a “cognisable and non-bailable” offence punishable with three years imprisonment and the wife will be entitled to maintenance and the custody of children if they are minor.
The Indian Supreme Court had on August 22 this year struck down triple talaq, calling the practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law.
The Bill would only be applicable to instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.
The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
Under the draft law, triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be bad or illegal and void.