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After over three months of the apex court verdict terming instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional, the Centre has drawn up a draft law which will make the practice a cognisable and a non-bailable offence punishable with up to three years of jail and a fine. While annulling instant triple talaq on August 22, the apex court had put a six-month stay on the practice setting a timeframe of six months for the Centre to frame a law regarding it.

The draft law which is to be known as Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is likely to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament commencing on December 15. The Centre has forwarded the draft to all the states seeking their response on it.

The draft law says that any declaration of triple talaq (instant) in “oral, written, electronic or any other form” shall be “illegal and void”. The draft law was finalised by a Group of Ministers comprising Home minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Arun Jaitley and Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The law will empower Muslim women, giving them the right to move court seeking subsistence allowance for her children and herself. The aggrieved will also be able to seek her minor children’s custody. The victim of instant triple talaq will be able to approach the magistrate and the final call on allowance and custody of minor children will be taken by the magistrate.

The Supreme Court in its landmark 395-page judgement on August 22, had termed instant triple talaq unconstitutional. The five-judge constitution bench comprising judges from five different communities had also put a six-month stay on the practice. The stay would continue, even if the draft bill doesn’t get cleared in the Parliament within six months of the judgment.

Prior to the judgement, 177 cases of talaq-e-biddat were recorded, with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar topping the list. As per the data with the government, as many as 68 cases of instant triple talaq were recorded, after the apex court ruling.

—India Legal Bureau

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