Cabinet gives nod to triple talaq ordinance
New Delhi, Feb 19: The Union Cabinet Tuesday gave its nod to re-issue the contentious Triple Talaq ordinance that makes the practice of instant triple talaq by Muslim men a penal offence.
The Cabinet has given its nod to the Triple Talaq ordinance, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters in the Cabinet briefing, noting that it is among those ordinances and bills which had been passed by the Lok Sabha but could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha due to continuous protests by opposition parties.
Once signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, the triple talaq ordinance will come into force for the third time in less than one year.
A bill on the ordinance making the practise of 'talaq-e-biddat' (instance divorce) void and an offence is pending in Rajya Sabha.
The bill will lapse on June 3 with the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha.
Opposition parties and some community leaders have claimed that jail term for a man for divorcing his wife is legally untenable.
The government has asserted that it provides justice and equality to Muslim women.
To a question about the need for a government to clear several ordinances, including the one on triple talaq, weeks ahead of the general election, Jaitley said discussions on these ordinances and bills had been "physically prevented" in Parliament.
"It (discussion) has not been prevented because numbers were against it... Indian democracy cannot be helpless.
Extraordinary situations do call for such steps," he said, adding that some ordinances, including one against inter-state ponzi scheme, are in a larger national interest. The government has promulgated the ordinance on triple talaq twice.
Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
A Bill to convert the earlier ordinance, issued in September, 2018, was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December and was pending in the Rajya Sabha Since the Bill could not get parliamentary approval, a fresh ordinance was issued.
Seeking to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial.
These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on August 29, 2018. While the ordinance makes it a "non-bailable" offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.
In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself. A provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail "after hearing the wife", the government had said.