Ordinance on Triple Talaq

Ordinance on Triple Talaq

What is Ordinance?

Ordinances are laws that are promulgated by the President of India on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. They can only be issued when Parliament is not in session. They enable the Indian government to take immediate legislative action. Ordinances cease to operate either if Parliament does not approve of them within six weeks of reassembly, or if disapproving resolutions are passed by both Houses.

Why in News:

  • The government has failed to ensure passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Supreme Court had in a verdict in August last year declared instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional
  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence

About Triple Talaq Bill

  • There is an ongoing debate on the desirability of criminalising instant triple talaq.
  • The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, as approved by the Lok Sabha, sought to give statutory form to the Supreme Court ruling of 2017 that declared talaq-e-biddat as illegal.
  • The Bill made this form of divorce punishable by a three-year prison term and a fine.
  • In the face of Opposition concerns, the government proposed significant changes to water down the provisions relating to the treatment of talaq-e-biddat as a criminal offence.
  • The Centre wants to demonstrate that it is espousing the cause of Muslim women.
  • The changes to be introduced through the ordinance do address some of the reservations about the original Bill.
  • The first makes the offence cognisable only if the woman, or one related to her by blood or marriage,against whom triple talaq has been pronounced, files a police complaint.
  • Second, the offence has been made compoundable, that is, the parties can settle the matter between themselves.
  • And third, it provides that a magistrate may grant bail to the husband after hearing the wife.
  • These amendments will not only restrict the scope for misuse by preventing third parties from setting the criminal law in motion against a man pronouncing instant triple talaq against his wife; they will also leave open the possibility of the marriage continuing by allowing bail and settlement.

Issues:

  • The core issue that arises from the proposed law remains: whether a marital wrong, essentially a civil matter, should lead to prosecutions and jail terms.
  • Also, when the law declares instant triple talaq to be invalid, it only means the marriage continues to subsist, and it is somewhat self-contradictory for a law to both allow a marriage to continue and propose a jail term for the offending husband.

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