The new bill is a copy of the ordinance in force. Bills that are introduced in the Rajya Sabha and are pending there do not lapse with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
A fresh bill to ban the practice of instant triple talaq will be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, which has been listed in the Lok Sabha’s agenda for Friday, will replace an ordinance issued in February by the previous BJP-led NDA government. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month, the previous bill had lapsed as it was pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill, which proposes to make the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) a penal offence, had faced objections from the opposition parties which claimed that jail term for a man for divorcing his wife was legally untenable. The new bill is a copy of the ordinance in force. Bills that are introduced in the Rajya Sabha and are pending there do not lapse with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. However, bills passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse with the dissolution of the lower house.
The government had promulgated the ordinance on triple talaq twice — in September 2018 and in February 2019 — as the contentious bill remained pending in the Rajya Sabha, though it was passed by the Lok Sabha. Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq is illegal, void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
Seeking to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision for bail for the accused during trial. These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on August 29, 2018. While the ordinance makes it a “non-bailable” offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail. In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself. A provision was added to allow the magistrate to grant bail “after hearing the wife”, the government had said.
In the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha, the new government plans to convert 10 ordinances, including the one to ban the practice of instant triple talaq, into law. The ordinances were issued in February-March this year by the previous government as these could not be converted into Acts of Parliament in the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha. Since the Narendra Modi government returned to power in the recently held elections, it has decided to give a fresh push to these proposed laws in the newly-constituted Lok Sabha. These ordinances will have to be converted into laws within 45 days of the beginning of the session, else they will lapse.