Constitution framers did not anticipate use of criminal law in reforming Muslim Personal Law

September 26, 2018
Constitution & Governance

Vineeth Krishna, Lead Associate Editor at CLPR, adds a historical perspective to the recent debate on the role of criminal law in Muslim personal law reform triggered by the passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of tights of Marriage) Ordinance, 2018.

This piece is part of ConQuest-ThePrint series of articles on Indian constitutional and political history


On 19 September, the Union Government passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Ordinance, 2018 that criminalises the pronouncement of instant triple talaq by a Muslim man to his wife, attracting a jail term that can extend up to three years.

The Centre ostensibly has criminalised triple talaq in the service of implementing the Supreme Court’s 2017 judgment. This judgment made no mention of any such legislative action – it merely set aside the practice as unconstitutional. While the minority opinion urged parliament to make a law to govern triple talaq, it did not call for the criminalisation of the practice.