As per the triple talaq bill, the practice of instant divorce will be a non-bailable and cognisable offence, and might attract a jail term of up to three years.
Coming out in support of criminalising triple talaq, Muslim women’s rights group Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has requested the government to make crime under the triple talaq bill a bailable offence, though congnisable.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha in December 2017, makes instant triple talaq illegal and void. It also proposes a jail term of three years for the husband and recognises the offence as non-bailable and cognisable.
Some activists and women’s rights had groups objected to the criminalisation provision in the Bill, but the BMMA sought to retain it. In a draft legislation sent to the government and the Opposition, the BMMA has stated that the right to file an FIR should be with the wife.
Recommending a reduction of the propose three-year jail term under the bill to one-year jail term, the BMMA has suggested that those abetting and aiding ‘talaq-e-biddat’ (instant triple talaq) should be handed a punishment of three-year jail term.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Zakia Soman, co-founder of the BMMA said, “The Opposition and the government need to work together to bring about a law against triple talaq. They can’t allow their political differences to stall a law. Muslim women have been denied legal protection for a long time because of abdication of the duty of the elected representatives.”
With the budget session set to commence on January 29, the Narendra Modi government is expected to push for the Muslim Women (Preotection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Earlier in December last year, though the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, it was later stalled in the Rajya Sabha after opposition parties demanded that it be sent to a Select Committee.
BMMA, which is also one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court against triple talaq, has also written to several leaders – including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Congress president Rahul Gandhi – and sent a copy of a proposed legislation after holding discussions with over 60,000 Muslim women from across the country.
Other civil rights groups like Roshni, Muslim Women Personal Law Board and STEPS also joined hands with the BMMA and stated that the law must also figure out a legal procedure of divorce which should be based on reconciliation or the ‘Talaq-e-Ahsan’ method which prescribes mediation and dialogue between the husband and wife over a minimum of 90 days.