New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the triple talaq bill after it was passed in both the Houses of Parliament. This new law makes the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a punishable offence, stated a government notification.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 21 this year to the same effect. This new law makes talaq-e-biddat or other forms of talaq (wherein a Muslim husband issues instantaneous and irrevocable divorce) void and illegal.

As per the law, “Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal.”

Any Muslim husband who pronounces talaq three times upon his wife will be imprisoned for a term which may extend to three years, besides a fine, mentions the Act.

The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha with 99 votes in favour and 84 against. Although the ruling NDA lacked a majority in the upper house, the bill was passed due to the absence of some members of the Opposition such as Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as well as six members of Telangana Rashtra Samithi and two MPs of YSR-Congress.

Earlier in the year, during the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, triple talaq bill could not make it through the upper house although it was passed by Lok Sabha. Thus, it was again passed by Lok Sabha last week amid a walkout by several opposition parties including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress.

Slamming the proposed bill, some Opposition parties had said that criminalising the offence would give a police officer the powers to arrest an offender without a warrant. They added that the law could be misused to harass Muslims and thus sought an additional review from the parliamentary committee. However, the law ensures that appropriate action is taken only if the complaint is filed by the aggrieved woman or any of her relation by blood or marriage.