India’s lower house of parliament passes bill that could jail Muslim men who use instant divorce
India’s lower house of parliament passed a bill on Thursday (December 28) aimed at prosecuting Muslim men who divorce their wives through the “triple talaq,” or instant divorce.
The bill would make the practice a non-bailable offence with a possible three-year jail term. It now moves to the upper house of parliament, where it is likely to be approved.
In August, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional a law which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq”, which means divorce in Arabic, three times.
Law minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the decision was a sign that India as a nation was moving towards gender justice.
India is one of the few countries where the practice of instant divorce has survived in law, and while some Muslim groups have said it is wrong, they believe it should be reviewed by the community itself. Muslims are the biggest religious minority in Hindu-majority India.
India’s civil codes are designed to protect the independence of religious communities. Unlike most Hindu civil laws, which have been codified and reformed, Muslim personal laws have largely been left untouched.