The Indian cabinet on Wednesday passed the ordinance on triple talaq even though the bill is currently pending in the Upper House of the parliament.
The bill, which makes pronouncement of instant talaq a punishable crime by imprisonment and fine, could not be taken for discussion on passage even on the last day of this year’s Monsoon Session.
This was because the principal opposition party, the Congress, has been against the certain provisions of the bill while demanding that it be sent to a select committee of the parliament. This has now been sent to President Ram Nath Kovind and will come into effect once he signs it.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in Delhi, “It’s my serious charge with full sense of responsibility that a distinguished woman leader is ultimate leader of the Congress, yet barbaric inhuman Triple Talaq was not allowed to be ended by a Parliamentary law for pure vote bank politics.”
Prasad said that the offence will be cognizable only when the FIR is filed by the victim wife or her close relations by blood or marriage. This effectively means that even the wife’s relatives can file an FIR against the husband. Experts say that this will give rise to flase cases being filed against men to settle personal scores.
Prasad added that the bail could be granted to husbands by the magistrate upon reasonable grounds but only after hearing the victim wife.
The Congress, for its part, has been insisting that jailing a husband will have financial consequences on the victim wife and her children. The party had told Prasad it would be ready to support the bill, even with the criminal clause, if the government took the responsibility of financially supporting all Muslim women whose husbands are in jail for pronouncing triple talaq.
The Supreme Court in its historic judgement last year had declared the practice of instant talaq illegal and had asked the government to enact a legislation.