Why in news?
=>The Union Cabinet cleared an ordinance that makes talaq-e-biddat, or instant triple talaq, a criminal offence that will attract a maximum jail term of three years. The new law, however, incorporates safeguards, including a provision for bail to an accused before the start of the trial.
=>Divorce by triple talaq is no longer recognised as valid since the Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling in Shayara Bano v Union of India in August 2017. Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Marriage) Ordinance, 2018, instantaneous triple talaq has been made punishable.
=>While instant triple talaq will continue to be a “non-bailable” offence, the police cannot grant bail at the police station, the accused can approach a magistrate for bail even before trial.
=>Another safeguard that had been added is that the police can lodge an FIR (first information report) only if the complaint is filed by the wife (victim), her blood relations or her relatives by virtue of her marriage. Non-relatives or neighbours cannot lodge a complaint under the proposed law.
=>The offence of instant triple talaq has also been “compoundable” or a provision that allows the wife to withdraw a complaint or approach the magistrate for a dispute settlement.
Key features of the Ordinance:
=>The Ordinance is applicable to the whole of India but it is not extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir
=>According to the Ordinance, any pronouncement of ‘talaq’ by a Muslim husband to his wife in any manner, spoken or written, shall be void and illegal.
=>Any Muslim husband who communicates the ‘talaq’ orally or in writing may face a punishment upto three years in jail. The punishment may be also extended.
=>The Ordinance also states that despite the presence of general laws in force, if a Muslim man pronounces ‘talaq’ to his wife, then the woman and her children are entitled to receive an allowance for subsistence. Such amount can be determined by a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class.
=>The Ordinance also states that a Muslim woman is entitled to the custody of her minor children even if her husband has pronounced ‘talaq’ to her.
=>The offence is pronouncing talaq is cognizable if the Muslim woman on whom it is pronounced, communicates the information to a police officer.
=>The offence is also compoundable, if the Muslim woman insists for the same and the Magistrates allows certain terms and conditions which he may determine.
Why ordinance has been brought?
=>201 cases had been reported from across the country after the Supreme Court banned triple talaq in August 2017. Since January 2017, 430 cases had been reported until September 13, 2018.
=>The practice of triple talaq continues in spite of the Supreme Court having annulled it and the Lok Sabha having passed a Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
What constitutes a criminal offence?
=>There is often an overlap between civil wrongs and criminal offences. An act may constitute an actionable civil wrong but may be serious enough to invite punishment as a criminal offence too.
=>Celebrated jurist Blackstone identified crimes as public wrongs, and torts against the individual as private wrongs. While civil wrongs affect the individual alone, public wrongs impact the community.
=>A private wrong has a civil remedy, usually in the form of compensation, while a public wrong or crime invites punishment because even though the act is, ostensibly, directed at an individual, it is perceived as violating the shared values that define a society.
Pic courtesy:Law Offices Of Kr. Advocate Tanwar
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