India outlaws controversial practice of instant Muslim divorce

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The controversial practice allowing Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives without explanation has been made illegal in India.

The BJP-dominated Indian Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, with 303 for and 82 against.

The ruling will make ‘triple talaq’ – in which a husband can annul a marriage by saying the Arabic for divorce three times – punishable by three years imprisonment.

Triple talaq has already been banned in Saudi Arabia and in India’s Muslim-majority neighbours of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

However, its use had persisted in India due to ambiguity around marriage laws.

Muslim couples are not required to register their marriages with civil authorities and instead are allowed to enter into unions and also divorce according to separate Islamic custom. 

The government said it was aware of over 570 cases since August 2017. No explanation needed to be offered and if a woman wanted to re-marry she also had to give up custody of her existing children.

Activists had long campaigned against the practice, arguing that the sudden divorce left Muslim women vulnerable. Brides faced being kicked out of homes they shared with their husbands and onto the streets.



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