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Even after a year following the Supreme Court’s five-judge bench (judges from five different faiths) declared talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq unconstitutional and not an essential part of Islam, the bill is still to become an act. On Friday, following a raucous demonstration in the Rajya Sabha over the Rafale deal,  Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu declared that the bill would not be taken up in this session. Friday (August 10) was the last day of the Monsoon Session. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, popularly known as the Triple Talaq Bill has been deferred top the next session, because, as Naidu put it, “no consensus could be built around it.”

The bill – with three amendments, including a bail clause, as desired by the opposition—would have to be sent back to the Lok Sabha (which had cleared it last year), for its approval. Then, following the Presidential signature on the document, instant triple talaq in India can be a criminal offence.

Earlier the Union cabinet had signed off on the changes in the bill. Last year the bill was stuck at the Rajya Sabha stage where the NDA is in minority.

The following were the amendments incorporated:

  1. Only a woman, or a close relative, can file a police case against her husband who delivers instant triple talaq by uttering the word “talaq” (divorce) thrice.
  1. She can drop the case if the husband comes around later and a compromise is reached.
  1. Only a magistrate and not a local police officer can grant bail to the accused. The three-year jail term, however, has not been reduced. The magistrate can grant bail only after hearing the wife.

 —India Legal Bureau

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