Triple Talaq Bill: Union Cabinet approves of bail and custody by magistrate

By Prarthana Mitra

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved three crucial amendments in the law relating to triple talaq and renewed its attempts to pass it on the last day of the Parliament Monsoon Session.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced that under the latest changes, the provision for a magistrate-approved bail will be offered to those accused of violating the law.

For the lack of a consensus, the bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha in the next session.

Fine print of the watered-down bill

In a press conference regarding the recent law that makes the granting of instant divorce a non-bailable offence, Prasad announced that an FIR against the husband will only be recognised if it is filed by the victim, or a relative by blood or marriage. These changes pertained only to cases of instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat.’

Only a magistrate can grant bail under certain terms and conditions, to men accused of practising the centuries-old triple talaq, that was deemed punishable by law last year.  Prasad 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.”

It also notes an additional provision for the victim to seek custody of her children. As part of the new amendments, mothers can now apply for a “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children before the magistrate who will take the final call.

The bill’s origin and future

The Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill was cleared by Lok Sabha after the landmark Supreme Court verdict which called the practice un-Islamic, arbitrary and not integral to religious practice. It proposes a three-year jail term and fine to any Muslim man who opts out of a marriage by a quick verbal divorce.

But so far, the bill has failed to make a headway in the Rajya Sabha. Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked for the bill to be sent to a select panel, while one of her party’s leaders came under fire for a controversial remark on the pervasive misogyny in every religion.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi wrote to the centre in July, to expedite the process and ensure the passage of the bill in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. However, on Thursday, the parties could not arrive at a broad consensus regarding the bill, which will likely be taken up for debate in the Winter Session. It will then be sent back to the Lok Sabha for ratification of the amendments.

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius




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