Group of ministers meets on anti-triple talaq law`

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The group of ministers entrusted with thrashing out modalities of the anti-triple talaq legislation met on Thursday for the first time to discuss the proposed legislation, government sources said.

The Narendra Modi government is planning to bring a legislation to make Talaq-e-biddat or instant divorce by Muslim husbands a cognizable offence with penal provisions.

The Supreme Court had in August this year banned the practice of Talaq-e-biddat but in the absence of any penal provisions, the ban has not had the desired effect, the government feels.

Hence, it is planning to either bring fresh legislation or to make suitable amendments in the existing laws to make Talaq-e-biddat an offence, as early as the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.

Headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the group of ministers includes External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minorities Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal is also being consulted in the process and was present in the meeting.

However, sources said, the hour long meeting was “an initial discussion” in the matter “and nothing has been decided” so far. More meetings would take place soon.

Even after the apex court order, cases such as that of an Aligarh Muslim University professor who divorced his wife through WhatsApp message earlier this month, have come to light.

A section of the Muslim clerics too saw the judgement as instance of “judicial overreach” in the community’s personal laws.

However, the opposition is not impressed with the government’s move and sees it as posturing by the Narendra Modi government against the backdrop of Gujarat elections.

“If you have to bring a legislation against the triple talaq, then bring it in Parliament and we will discuss it there. Why are they making so much unnecessary noise about it outside Parliament?” Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Thursday.

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