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Centre clears Ordinance criminalising triple talaq: A timeline


New Delhi, Sept 20: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, September 19, approved an Ordinance making triple talaq a punishable act. As per the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, triple talaq in any form - even if though an SMS or instant message, is declared illegal and it land the husband in jail for up to three years.

Centre clears Ordinance criminalising triple talaq: A timeline

The move is certainly one that would stir up India's public space. There are opinions both in favour and against the move. Some say it will help the Muslim women while others feel it is a sheer political opportunism of the ruling party.

Triple Talaq a punishable offence now as govt takes ordinance routeTriple Talaq a punishable offence now as govt takes ordinance route

We take a look at the timeline of the triple talaq case:

February 2016: The Supreme Court (SC) sought assistance from the then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi on the pleas that challenged the constitutional validity of 'triple talaq', 'nikah halala' and 'polygamy'. It said the aim was to see whether the Muslim women experienced gender discrimination in case of a divorce.

March 2016: The SC asked the Centre to file a copy of the high-level panel's report on "Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and succession".

June 2016: The apex court said the practice of triple talaq among the Muslim community will be tested against the constitutional framework.

October 2016: The Centre objected to triple talaq in the SC saying there is a necessity to have a re-look at it on grounds of gender equality and secularism.

February 2017: The apex court announced setting up of a constitutional bench comprising five judges to hear challenges against the practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.

March 2017: Reactions start emanating from the Muslim community. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board tells the SC that issue of triple talaq lies outside the purview of the judiciary and it should not be touched.

April 2017: The Centre tells the apex court that the practices deprive the Muslim women of the fundamental rights that are granted to them by the Indian constitution.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks up saying the Muslim women will get justice. The Law Board issues a code of conduct and warned that those who divorced their wives in violation of Sharia Law will be socially boycotted.

Parliamentarians have failed Muslim women badly on triple talaq, Zakia SomanParliamentarians have failed Muslim women badly on triple talaq, Zakia Soman

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the Muslim practice of divorce was akin to the episode of Draupadi's humiliation in Mahabharata.

Delhi High Court dismissed a plea seeking end to the practice of triple talaq in cases of Hindu women married to Muslin men.

The Opposition slams PM Modi, accuses him of politicising the issue for electoral gains.

May 2017: The SC allows Congress leader Salman Khurshid, also a senior lawyer, as amicus curiae in hearing pleas that challenge the constitutional validity of the controversial practice.

The SC said it would determine during the hearing whether triple talaq is fundamental to religion for the Muslim community. The hearing began with a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar. Triple talaq was described as the "worst" and "not desirable" form of ending a marriage.

Mukul Rohatgi told the SC that the Centre would work towards bringing a new law to regulate marriage and divorce in the Muslim community in case all forms of triple talaq are deemed unconstitutional.

The Law Board told court that the practice is a matter related to faith and could not questioned in terms of constitutional morality. Can a woman be given the option of saying "no" to triple talaq, the SC asked the board.

The SC reserved its ruling on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of instant triple talaq among the Muslims.

August 2017: SC ruled with a 3:2 majority that triple talaq is illegal. The practice is struck down and the Centre is asked to formulate a new law on the same.

December 2017: The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, got passed in the Lok Sabha and it made triple talaq a punishable offence with a maximum jail term of three years.

August 2018: After a year since the verdict, the Centre cleared the amendments to the Bill that included provisions like granting bail to men who are found guilty of giving instant triple talaq.

The Bill was presented in the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament but the government failed to pass it citing absence of consensus in the House.

Modi blamed the Opposition during his Independence Day speech for the delay in passing the Bill in the Upper House.

September 2018: The Union Cabinet approved the ordinance making instant triple talaq a punishable act with three years of jail term.

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