In one of its first decisions regarding legislative business, the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take up a bill to criminalise triple talaq once again when it meets on Wednesday afternoon. The bill seeks to replace the ordinance passed by the previous government in February after a similar bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha.
According to sources aware of the matter, a bill to ban Talaq-e-biddat may be discussed by the Union Cabinet, which may grant its approval for the government to bring the bill in the upcoming session of the Parliament starting on June 17.
The previous Modi government had brought three ordinances to penalise the practice of triple talaq with imprisonment up to three years. The first ordinance was brought in after the Monsoon Session of the Parliament in 2018, a second ordinance was issued after the Winter Session, and the third was announced by the last cabinet on February 19, just weeks ahead of the general elections.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed by the 16th Lok Sabha in December after four hours of debate. The Opposition has been against certain provisions criminalising the practice. The government was unable to pass it in the Rajya Sabha as BJP and its allies did not have majority in the Upper House, and the Opposition had disrupted House proceedings over the Rafale deal.
After the Lok Sabha was dissolved after completing its term, the bill had lapsed. With the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha starting next week, the new triple talaq Bill might be one of the first bills to be introduced by the government.
Taking charge of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on June 3, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also the Law Minister in the last government, had emphasised the government’s will to bring in the bill again. He had said the issue of triple talaq “was part of our manifesto”.
The new session of the Parliament will begin on June 17. After the new members of the Lok Sabha take oath over the first two days, the President will address a joint session of both Houses. The Union Budget will be presented on July 5, and the session will conclude on July 26.