Triple talaq is criminal offence

The new law has safeguards, including bail to the accused before the start of trial

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared an ordinance that makes talaq-e-biddat , or instant triple talaq, a criminal offence that will attract a maximum jail term of three years. President Ram Nath Kovind later in the day gave his assent.

The new law, however, incorporates safeguards, including a provision for bail to an accused before the start of the trial.

While instant triple talaq will continue to be a “non-bailable” offence — the police cannot grant bail at the police station — the accused can approach a magistrate for bail even before trial.

“There was an overpowering urgency and a compelling necessity to bring the ordinance as the practice continued unabated despite the Supreme Court’s order last year,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

He said 201 cases had been reported from across the country after the Supreme Court banned triple talaq in August 2017. Since January 2017, 430 cases had been reported until September 13 this year. “What is important is that the practice of triple talaq continues in spite of the Supreme Court having annulled it and the Lok Sabha having passed a Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha. We have all the evidence and a series of papers in this regard,” Mr. Prasad said.

The Law Minister attacked the Congress, saying it was not supporting the Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha because of “vote bank pressures.” He also appealed to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, BSP chief Mayawati and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to support it in the next Parliament session.

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