A draft bill framed by the Centre makes the practice a criminal offence and is to be presented in the winter session of Parliament.
New Delhi: Instant triple talaq will soon be a cognisable and non-bailable offence, which may invite punishment up to three years’ imprisonment, according to the Centre’s new bill.
The bill is likely to be presented in the winter session of Parliament starting 15 December, government sources told ThePrint Friday.
The special group of ministers, tasked with framing the new legislation, met for the first-time last week to discuss the modalities. The GoM includes home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for social justice and empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot and minister for minorities affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Sources familiar with the development said amending the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 was considered but later rejected.
Sushma Swaraj, it is learnt, suggested amending the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, popularly known as the Shah Bano law, to make pronouncement of instant triple talaq a criminal offence.
Attorney general K.K. Venugopal, however, told the GoM that this would not be feasible. He pointed out that the Shah Bano law applies to divorced women only after a valid talaq. The legislation only codified Muslim personal law that allows maintenance to a divorced woman only for three lunar months or three menstrual cycles after divorce.
Sources said that he instead suggested bringing in a new law to criminalise triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat.
As the bill makes instant triple talaq a cognisable offence, a policeman can make an arrest without a warrant. Such provisions are usually reserved for serious offences and heinous crimes.
The bill is also likely to have a provision for offering maintenance and custody of minor children to the aggrieved wife.
The sources said that if a Muslim man gives a valid talaq after being arrested for pronouncing instant triple talaq, the law will ensure that the aggrieved wife gets maintenance even in the interim.
The new law is likely to cover pronouncement of talaq through all mediums, including electronic communications. The government could refer to several provisions of the Information Technology Act in the bill to offer remedy to the talaq given over WhatsApp and SMS.