THE Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unanimously approved an ordinance making practice of instant Triple Talaq a penal offence, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. A bill in this regard is pending in the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament due to objection raised by the major Opposition the Congress to some of its provisions. In August 2017, the Supreme Court had declared instant talaq illegal and unconstitutional. Citing compelling necessity for the move as the practice annulled by the Supreme Court continues unabated Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the Congress party of not cooperating in the passage of the ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill because of vote bank politics. Giving details of the ordinance, he said a woman or her blood relative will have to file a case with a police station to make the offence cognizable. The offence is compoundable. A compromise can also be reached before a magistrate after the affected woman consents to it, he said.”It is my serious charge that despite having a woman leading the Congress, the party did not lend support the bill,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday terming the practice as “barbaric and inhuman”. About 22 countries including Bangladesh and Pakistan have regulated Triple Talaq. However, gender justice was given a complete go-by in a secular country like India because of blatant vote bank politics.”I will again appeal to Sonia ji that this ordinance has been brought in the interest of the country to bring gender justice. I appeal to you to rise above vote bank politics and help pass it in the interest of justice for women.” The Union Law Minister also appealed to Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee to help in the passage of the bill pending in Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks numbers. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill. The Supreme Court last year banned the practice. But since the practice was still prevalent, a bill was brought to make it a penal offence. However several Muslim organisation s have opposed the Ordinance saying it is an assault on their religion. Minutes after the Union Cabinet approved ordinance making Triple Talaq punishable, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi called the move “unconstitutional”.“This Ordinance is unconstitutional. The ordinance is against the Constitution’s right to equality as it is being made only for Muslims. All India Muslim Personal Law Board and women organisations should challenge this ordinance in the Supreme Court,” said the Hyderabad MP.