The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the ordinance on the amended Triple Talaq Bill which was deferred to the next session of Parliament as parties in the Rajya Sabha failed to reach an agreement over it in early August.
"Union Cabinet today has approved an ordinance on Triple Talaq bill, making Triple Talaq a criminal act," the news agency ANI reported.
The ordinance would have similar provisions as The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, popularly known as triple talaq bill, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December last year.
Briefing the media over the Centre's decision to approve the ordinance, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "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".
"The core component of this Ordinance is that an offence will be cognizable only when the FIR is filed by the victim wife or her close relations by blood or marriage," he said.
"Secondly, it's compoundable, it can be compromised only at the insistence of the wife upon appropriate terms and conditions as determined by the magistrate. Thirdly, a bail can be granted by the magistrate upon reasonable grounds but only after hearing the victim wife also," Prasad was quoted while addressing a press conference on the same.
Under the new law, the mother or the victim wife will get the custody of the minor child and is entitled to a maintenance suitably determined by the magistrate for herself and the child, Prasad added.
The Union minister also urged the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to help in the clearance of the bill pending in Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks numbers. The Supreme Court last year banned the practice. But since the practice was still prevalent, a bill was brought to make it a penal offence.
Meanwhile, reacting to Modi government's decision to pass the triple talaq bill, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Modi government not making this an issue for justice for Muslim women, but making this into a political issue".
Modi government not making this an issue for justice for Muslim women, but making this into a political issue: Randeep Surjewala, Congress pic.twitter.com/vBoV1BSQuQ— ANI (@ANI) September 19, 2018
Terming the ordinance 'unconstitutional', Asaduddin Owaisi said "This ordinance is against the Muslim women. This ordinance will not provide justice to the Muslim women. In Islam, marriage is a civil contract and bringing penal provisions in it is wrong".
"The ordinance is against the Constitution's right to equality as it is being made only for Muslims. All India Muslim Personal Law Board & women organisations should challenge this ordinance in the Supreme Court," Owaisi claimed.
On 29 December, the lower house passed the bill to make instant triple talaq, a criminal offence, just a day after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government proposed it in the Lok Sabha.
The Bill proposes a three-year term for men whoever is found guilty of divorcing his wife by spoken words, written or by means such as SMS, WhatsApp or email.
For those unserved, Triple Talaq is verbal divorce practised by a section in the Muslim community to give instant divorce to their wives by saying the word ‘talaq’ three times.