Amendment to Triple Talaq Bill Approved by Cabinet, Offence Remains 'Non-Bailable' But Magistrate Can Grant Bail
Muslim women in Mumbai protesting against criminalisation of Triple Talaq Bill earlier in the year | File image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, Aug 9: The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the amendments to the Triple Talaq Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha in the Winter session of the Parliament last year. As per the changes promulgated, an accused can avail bail if the magistrate grants, despite the offence being non-bailable.

"Although the offence continues to remain non-bailable but magistrate can give bail," reported news agency ANI. In other words, a man booked for divorcing his wife through talaq-e-bidat or triple talaq, can be released from custody only through a magisterial order.

Apart from the bail provision, two more changes have been added to the triple talaq law. "If any husband gives triple talaq instantaneously and breaks marriage then FIR shall only become cognizable when it is filed by victim or blood relation or relation by marriage," said Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"If the wife and the husband desire to settle their differences, then the magistrate can compound the offence on appropriate terms and conditions. Magistrate can grant bail after hearing the wife," he added.

The Centre was compelled to amend the law criminalising triple talaq as the Opposition, which collectively outnumbers the government in the Rajya Sabha, had marked apprehensions over the non-bailable clause.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, while criticising the Bill earlier, said the Congress is not opposed to the law but is against its provisions which equates the violator with a murder or rape accused. "The non-bailable provision is a subject of debate," he had said.

As per the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2017, a violator would be immediately arrested and sentenced to three years of imprisonment post conviction. A monetary fine would also be levied.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had organised protests to mark its dissent against the law, claiming that none of its personnel or other Islamic bodies were consulted by the government before passing the law.

"If the husband is sent to jail for three years, who would provide maintenance to his wife, the victim of triple talaq," questioned a senior Personal Law Board office-bearer.