President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the tripletalaq bill passed by Parliament, turning it into a law which makes the practiceof instant divorce among Muslims a punishable offence, a governmentnotification said.
The gazette notification, published Wednesday, says thepresident has given assent to the bill passed by Parliament.
The Act will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 21this year to the same effect.
The new law — The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights onMarriage) Act, 2019 — makes talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaqhaving the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by aMuslim husband void and illegal.
It makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times inspoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat in onesitting.
"Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband uponhis wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in anyother manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal," the law says.
Any Muslim husband who pronounces the illegal form of talaqupon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend tothree years, and shall also be liable to fine, it says.
The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha with 99 votes in favourand 84 against, as the ruling NDA, which lacks majority in the upper house, washelped by the absence of some members of the opposition Congress, SP and BSP aswell as six members of Telangana Rashtra Samithi and two MPs of YSR-Congress.
The triple talaq bill could not make it through the upperhouse earlier this year during the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi'sgovernment, although it was passed by Lok Sabha.
The bill was again passed by Lok Sabha last week amid awalkout by several opposition parties including the Congress and the TrinamoolCongress.
The opposition parties had said in its current form, theproposed law could be misused to harass Muslims and wanted it to be reviewed bya parliamentary committee.
Criminalising the offence, the bill gives a police officerpowers to arrest the offender without requiring a warrant, they had said.
To check misuse of cognisable nature of the offence, thebill makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat only if the complaint is filed by theaggrieved woman or any of her relation by blood or marriage, the Act says.
A magistrate can grant bail only after hearing the aggrievedwoman, it says.
The aggrieved woman is entitled to demand a maintenance forher and her dependent children under the Act.
Opposing the bill, Leader of Opposition in Rajya SabhaGhulam Nabi Azad had said a law should not be made to "finish oneparticular religion" and claimed that the "cat has come out of thebag".
He said the government should not target one section byframing an "unconstitutional" law but instead provide 33 per centreservation to women in legislatures for their empowerment, the way Congressgovernment had brought in reservation for women in panchayats, corporations andlocal bodies.