India Has Just Passed A Bill Criminalising Islamic Instant Divorce
India's parliament has passed a bill criminalising a Muslim man's right to instantly divorce his wife, in what has widely been hailed a historic day for women.
"Triple talaq" is a practice that allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife by uttering "talaq" -- the Arabic word for divorce -- three times in her presence.
On Tuesday (local time), the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights On Marriage) Bill passed through the Upper House, meaning the centuries-old practice will become punishable with up to three years in jail.
The bill will become law after it is approved by India's president.
The country's Hindu Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, whose nationalist government has been pushing to criminalise the practice for some time, said the verdict "corrects a historical wrong to Muslim women".
“An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history!” Modi wrote on Twitter.
"Triple talaq" is prevalent among Muslims in India, many of whom follow the Hanafi School of Law -- one of four Islamic schools of thought. Multiple countries, including Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh, have banned the practice.
While some Indian Muslim groups believe that "triple talaq" is wrong, they wanted the practice reviewed by community leaders and not government.
MP Asaduddin Owaisi, from the opposition All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, claimed the bill passed on Tuesday further marginalises Muslim women.
"The law forces a woman to stay in a marriage with an imprisoned man who'd verbally and emotionally abused her," he wrote on Twitter, saying the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had failed to "reform society".
"It puts the burden of proof on Muslim women and forces her into impoverishment," he said.
Owaisi said existing laws provided "stringent and comprehensive safeguards" to all women regardless of their faith.