India’s powerful lower house of parliament has approved a bill making the practice of instant divorce illegal and punishable with up to three years imprisonment for offending husbands.
The bill came months after India’s Supreme Court ruled that the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce their wives was unconstitutional.
Several opposition parties criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for not discussing the legislation with them before introducing it in Parliament on Thursday.
The approved bill will now go to the Upper House of Parliament for approval before it becomes law.
Women’s rights activist Zakia Soman said it was a much needed law for Muslim women, who have suffered legal discrimination with Hindu and Christian women enjoying protection under separate Indian laws.