The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018.

LOKSABHA PASSES THE MUSLIM WOMEN (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS ON MARRIAGE) BILL, 2018

Author: Bollu Nikhila, D.S. National Law University, Visakhapatnam.

Loksabha passes the Muslim women (protection of rights on marriage) Bill, 2018. The main objective of the bill is to repeal the “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) ordinance 2018 which was brought after the Supreme Court decision in the case of ‘Shayana Bano v. Union of India & others’ .

The bill proposes to make ‘talak-e-biddat’, a Muslim practice for divorce as void and make it cognizable, compoundable and non-bailable.

The present Bill to replace the ordinance was introduced by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 17, 2018.

“Talaq” for the purposes of the Bill means ‘talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband’

Clause 3 of the Bill declares pronouncement of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void and illegal. Pronouncement of talaq has been made an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years and fine.

The highlights of the bill are:

  • Any Muslim Husband whoever pronounces talaaq in any form will be punished with imprisonment of maximum three years and fined according to § 4 of the bill.
  • Subsistence allowance can be obtained by a muslim woman for her and her dependent children, upon determination of magistrate (§ 5).
  • Married Muslim woman shall be entitled to custody of minor children upon pronouncement of talaaq by the Muslim husband and in the manner determined by the magistrate. (§ 6)
  • The offence is cognizable[1], can be made by married Muslim woman or any other person related to her by marriage or blood.
  • The offence is bailable, upon giving hearing to married Muslim woman and satisfaction of reasonable grounds by Judicial Magistrate of the first class.

Talaq –e-bidaat:

The statement of husband to wife “talaq, talaq, talaq”  at the same time is considered as divorce irrevocably as per talaq-e-biddat.

Disputed Aspects:

The bill proposes to penalize a civil offence in the name of deterrence. (Marriage is a civil contract, there is a breach of contract).

This penalisation is introduced only to a Muslim husband, it does not exist to other religions like Hindus or Christians parting away from uniform civil code.

[1] “ cognizable” – §2 (c) of Cr.P.C. – ‘a case for which, a police officer, in accordance with the First Schedule or under and any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.’

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