Cabinet clears ordinance to make triple talaq penal offence

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New Delhi: Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 19 said that the Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to make the practice of instant triple-talaq a cognizable offence with penal provisions.
The Minister also insisted that the decision was taken under “compelling necessity” as the practice continued “unabated” despite the Supreme Court annulling it last year and had directed the government to bring about a legal framework to deal with the subject.
Announcing the decision of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a press conference here, Prasad accused the Congress of not cooperating in the passage of the “Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill”, pending in the Rajya Sabha, because of vote bank politics.
“It is unfortunate that despite being led by a woman, the Congress was not forthcoming to support the law, which is aimed at giving equality and gender justice to Muslim women,” he said.
“I will again appeal to Soniaji that this ordinance has been brought in the interest of the country to bring gender justice. I appeal to you to rise above vote bank politics and help pass it in the interest of justice for women,” the Minister said.
He also appealed to Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee to help in the passage of the bill pending in Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks numbers. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill.
When asked pointedly if the ruling BJP, which is eager to provide gender justice, will also ensure political empowerment to Muslim women by giving them tickets in forthcoming elections, the Law Minister was quick to respond by saying: “Gender equality and justice are bigger issue than what is being suggested.”
Giving details of the provisions of the ordinance, Prasad said, a woman or her blood relatives will have to file a case before a police station to make the offence cognizable. But the offence is compoundable, as a compromise can also be reached before a magistrate after the affected woman gives her consent to it, he added.
Describing the practice as “barbaric and inhuman”, Prasad said nearly 22 countries have regulated triple-talaq. However, gender justice was given a complete go-by in a secular country like India because of blatant vote-bank politics.

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