The bill on the protection of marriage rights of muslim women has come into effect. Section 3 of the Bill states that “talaq-e-biddat” shall be ‘void’ and ‘illegal’. This is followed by consequence of such void action in terms of Section 4 thereof, stating, whoever pronounces talaq-e-biddat shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years and fine. In the objects and reasons of the Bill, it is stated that the judgment of the Supreme Court gave a ‘boost to liberate Indian Muslim Woman from the age-old practice of capricious and whimsical method of divorce by some Muslim men’.
Void action means an action with no force and effect, without legal efficacy, incapable of being enforced or has no legal or binding force. Void action pertaining to divorce has been made a punishable offence and once once the wife makes statement to the police about pronouncing a void action (that is, the pronouncement of triple talaq), lodging of an FIR is imminent; the husband would go to jail.
Instant triple talaq in any form — oral, written or electronic form — has been banned and made a cognizable offence.
The bill also provides for a subsistence allowance of a harassed Muslim woman and her dependant children and the custodial rights of minor children.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgement, calling instant triple talaq as illegal and unconstitutional. However, government sources, citing data, say even after the judgement there have been 67 cases of instant talaq.
Before the August 22 judgement, there were 177 cases of instant talaq, with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar recording the maximum number of cases.
The issue of ending instant triple talaq was a part of the BJP’s campaign in the Uttar Pradesh elections and the party believes it paid dividends among Muslim women.