Talaq-e-biddat Current Affairs - 2019

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Parliament passes Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019

Parliament passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019 or Triple Talaq Bill after it was approved by Rajya Sabha. It replaces Ordinance promulgated on February 21, 2019.  It aims to declares practice of instant triple talaq void and illegal by making it cognizable penal offence.

Salient Features of Bill

  • Objective: Protect rights of married Muslim women and ensure gender equality and gender justice to Muslim women by declaring practice of triple talaq as void and illegal i.e. not enforceable in law and prevent divorce by practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands.
  • Definitions: It defines talaq or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce. It defines Talaq-e-biddat as practice under Muslim personal laws, as pronouncement of word ‘talaq’ by Muslim husband thrice in one sitting to his wife, resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce
  • Offence and Penalty: It makes this offence punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years and fine. It also makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form (email, text message etc) to be void and illegal.
  • It proposes to make offence cognizable, if information relating to commission of an offence is given to police officer by married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced or by any person related to her by blood/marriage.
  • It makes offence compoundable with permission of Magistrate at the instance of the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced. It further provides for hearing married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced, before accused is released on bail by Magistrate.
  • Allowance: It also provides for payment of subsistence allowance (to be determined by Magistrate) to married Muslim women against whom talaq has been declared and dependent children. The amount of allowance will be determined by Magistrate.
  • Custody: It entitles Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared to seek custody of her minor children. In this case, Magistrate is empowered to determine manner of custody.

Lok Sabha Passes Triple Talaq Bill

The Lok Sabha has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, famously referred to as Triple Talaq Bill. The bill would replace the ordinance passed in the month of September.

The opposition members from Congress and AIADMK staged the walkout demanding that the government must refer the bill to the joint select committee.

Features of the Bill

The Important features of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill are:

  • The bill makes the all declaration of triple talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal. Talaq-e-biddat.

Talaq-e-biddat (Triple Talaq)
It refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

  • Declaration of Triple Talaq would be a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine. The bill states that the offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or any person related to her by blood or marriage.

Cognizable offence
A cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without a warrant.

  • Under the provisions of the bill, the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  • The bill also states that the offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). The bill empowers the Magistrate to determine terms and conditions of the compounding.

Compounding of offence
Compounding of offence refers to a procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute.

  • A Muslim Women against whom the triple talaq is pronounced is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children and the amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
  • A Muslim Women against whom the triple talaq is pronounced is entitled to seek custody of her minor children and the manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

The Opposition members were demanding the joint select committee for a detailed study of the bill since it is a constitutional matter related to a specific religion.