India's parliament has approved a bill that makes the Muslim practice of "instant divorce"(known as "Triple talaq") a criminal offence.
The Supreme Court already declared the practice unconstitutional in 2017. Men found in breach of the new law can be jailed for up to three years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the vote as "a victory of gender justice". „An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history,” he said. In many cases, Muslim men in India have divorced their wives by letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype. A number of these cases made their way to the courts. The „Triple talaq” divorce has no mention in Sharia Islamic law or the Koran. The Koran clearly spells out how to issue a divorce - it has to be spread over three months, allowing a couple time for reflection and reconciliation.
Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have previously banned triple talaq. The new bill in India is however controversial. Some accused the Hindu nationalist BJP of targeting Muslims. Those against it, including some Muslim women, point out that it's unusual to criminalise divorce.