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Lok Sabha Passes Contentious Bill to Ban Muslim Instant Talaq Divorce

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New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, passed a controversial bill to ban Islamic annulment of marriage by instant “Talaq” or divorce. The bill seeks a three-year jail term for Muslim men, who divorce their wives through this practice.

Federal Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while moving the bill said, it is all about gender justice. The bill will now go to the upper house or Rajya Sabha.

“Twenty Muslim countries in the world, including Pakistan and Malaysia, have banned triple talaq. Why can’t a secular India do it?” asked Prasad.

The opposition argued that the criminal clause in the bill could be misused by law-enforcement agencies and wanted further consultation on its provisions by a Parliamentary Select Committee.  

The contentious clauses in the bill are, (i) it is a cognizable offence; (ii) it is non-bailable, and the husband can be jailed and denied bail and (iii) it provides for subsistence allowance by the Muslim man to his divorced wife and children.  

The bill was previously passed in the Lok Sabha in December 2018, but it could not be enacted as it did not get through the upper Rajya Sabha, as the ruling alliance didn’t have the required numbers.

There has been widespread support for the legislation from the general public, and many have taken to social media to express their views.

​India’s Supreme Court had in an August 2017 judgement ruled the practice of triple talaq “unconstitutional”. The court also asked the government to frame new divorce legislation to replace the abolished practice.

Some Muslim bodies have admitted that while triple talaq is wrong, they want their community to review the practice. However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board – a non-governmental organization to maintain Muslim Personal Law in India, has said it would challenge the ban.

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