Cabinet clears fresh 'triple talaq' bill

The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a fresh bill to ban the practice of instant 'triple talaq', Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

The bill will be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament which begins on Monday to replace an ordinance issued in February by the previous BJP-led NDA government.

With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month, the previous bill had lapsed as it was pending in Rajya Sabha.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which made the practice of instant 'triple talaq' ('talaq-e-biddat') a penal offence, had faced objections from the opposition parties which claimed that jail term for a man for divorcing his wife was legally untenable.

Javadekar said the proposed legislation is based on gender equality and is part of the government's philosophy of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas' .

The new bill will be a copy of the ordinance in force and the minister hoped that it will be passed "unanimously" by Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks numbers.

Bills that are introduced in Rajya Sabha and are pending there do not lapse with the dissolution of Lok Sabha.

However, bills passed by Lok Sabha and pending in Rajya Sabha lapse with the dissolution of the lower house.

The government had promulgated the ordinance on 'triple talaq' twice -- in September 2018 and in February 2019 --. as the contentious bill remained pending in Rajya Sabha, though it was passed by Lok Sabha.

Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant 'triple talaq' is illegal, void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.