NEW DELHI: Muslim organisations were not consulted before the government framed a draft bill to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar said the government believed that the proposed bill would help ensure gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women.
The government has maintained that since the practice of instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ continues despite the Supreme Court striking it down, there is a need to bring a law.
To a written question on whether the government consulted Muslim organisations before framing the draft law, Minster of State for Law P P Chaudhary replied in the negative.
In a separate written reply, Prasad said, “The government is of the view that the issue arises from the humanitarian concept of gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women and not arising from faith and religion.”
He said that since the Supreme Court struck down the practice of instant triple talaq, nearly 66 cases of husbands divorcing their spouses through this method were reported.
On December 15, the union cabinet cleared the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, which seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term for the husband.
The husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.
The proposed law would only be applicable to 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.
Under the draft law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be bad or illegal and void.