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Union Cabinet clears Triple Talaq bill, onus on Opposition now

Big step towards gender equality! Union Cabinet clears Triple Talaq bill, onus on Opposition now

The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the triple talaq bill in what seems to be a big push for equality.

With the approval, the path is now clear for the bill to be passed in the Parliament. While the BJP government has been battling against the arbitrary Instant triple talaq, it will depend on other parties in the Parliament to support the cause.

As far as the protocol is concerned, the bill will now be tabled in the Parliament to get it cleared at both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The draft bill was prepared earlier this year by a committee of five senior leaders after the Supreme Court termed the practice of Instant triple talaq as unconstitutional.

It may be noted that Instant triple talaq has brought grief to several Muslim women who have been victims of this arbitrary practice.

While the Centre does not need approval from the states to pass the bill, most of them are on the same page as the Centre, in view of the gender discrimination in such cases.

Commenting on the development, Rekha Sharma, Chief, NCW, said, "Happy that cabinet has approved this bill. Many Muslim women who suffered because of triple talaq will be saved."

Under the draft law, triple talaq in any form - spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp - would be banned or illegal.

The draft law also provides for three years in prison and a fine for a Muslim man trying to divorce his wife by uttering "talaq" three times.

There have been 177 reported cases of instant talaq before the judgement and 66 after the Supreme Court order this year and Uttar Pradesh tops the list, he said.

As per the draft, triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat will be a "cognisable and non-bailable" offence punishable with three years imprisonment and the wife will be entitled to maintenance and the custody of children if they are minor.

The Supreme Court had on August 22 struck down triple talaq, calling the practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law.

The draft 'Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill' was sent by the Centre to the states for their views as the practice continued despite the Supreme Court striking it down.

The draft was prepared by a ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or 'talaq-e-biddat' and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children.

The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.

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