The Lok Sabha on 28 December 2017 made history by passing a law criminalising instant triple talaq in a move that significantly empowers Muslim women, although the legislation will now have to be cleared by the Upper House of Parliament. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which has opposed the law, has said if the Rajya Sabha passes the bill, it will approach the Supreme Court, which, in August held the practice unconstitutional and illegal, though it didn’t rule on or suggest criminalising instant triple talaq.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill seeks to “ensure the larger constitutional goals of gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women and help sub-serve their fundamental rights of non-discrimination and empowerment”, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the House.
The bill was passed by a voice vote after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member NK Premachandran that the legislation be circulated for public opinion. The bill will only be applicable to instant triple talaq or “talaq-e-biddat” and gives power to a woman to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for her and her minor children. A woman can also seek the custody of her minor children.