The new law that makes "Triple Talaq", a controversial Islamic practice that allows men to divorce their wives instantly, a punishable offense, will be examined by the Supreme Court. The top court has sent a notice to the government seeking its response.
The contentious bill to ban Triple Talaq was passed in parliament last month. The bill that sought to end the practice of Muslim men instantly divorcing their wives by uttering "talaq" thrice saw stiff opposition in the Lok Sabha but sailed through the opposition-dominated upper house, aided by a series of walkouts and abstentions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the bill was passed in Rajya Sabha, had tweeted that it was a victory of gender justice.
The Supreme Court was hearing three petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the law. The petitioners want the court to declare the law unconstitutional. "We have a doubt if a religious practice is declared void and it is still going on, is it not an offence like dowry?" the top court said today.
"We will examine this," the bench told senior advocate and Congess leader Salman Khurshid, who was appearing for one of the petitioners. Mr Khurshid told the top court that there were many dimensions, including making the practice a punishable offence and jail term of up to three years, which was required to be examined by the court.
The government maintains that the Triple Talaq Bill is a step towards ensuring gender equality and justice and that the opposition parties were politicising the issue.
The opposition parties had demanded that the bill be sent to a select committee for further deliberation and scrutiny. They were against the provision for a three-year jail term for erring husbands and claimed that the proposed law will be misused to victimise Muslims.
(With inputs from PTI)