The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved inclusion of a provision of granting bail to men accused of giving instant triple talaq to their wives, sources in the government said. While the offence continues to remain non-bailable, the latest provision makes it permissible for a magistrate to grant bail to the accused.
The triple talaq bill aims to “set aside” the centuries-old practice of instant divorce by men.
The proposed law would only be applicable on 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.
Besides these, a woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
While addressing the media later, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The Cabinet has approved the amendments in the law relating to triple talaq. We have proposed three changes. If a husband gives instant triple talaq to his wife, an FIR against him will only become cognizable when it is filed by the victim or anyone having blood relation or relation by marriage.”
He added, “The law has been made compoundable, that is, if the wife and the husband agree to settle their differences, then the magistrate can compound the offence on appropriate terms and conditions. The magistrate can grant the bail to the accused after hearing the wife.”
Last year, the government had drafted the Bill after the Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, called the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary”. Three of five judges on the Constitution Bench — Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Uday U Lalit and Kurian Joseph — had disagreed with the view that triple talaq was an integral part of religious practice.
The Bill proposes a three-year jail term and fine for any Muslim man who divorced his wife by uttering talaq three times in quick succession. Sources said the Bill also deals with subsistence allowance for Muslim women and custody of minor children.
Last month, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to ensure the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. A day later, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responded to the letter with a “new deal” of equality and adequate representation by joining hands to pass the bills on women’s reservation, instant triple talaq and nikah halala.