Attacking the BJP government at the centre for giving nod to re-issue the contentious triple talaq ordinance, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said on Wednesday it will be used as a "weapon against minorities".
"Social change cannot be achieved through force and arbitrary criminalisation. A narrative of women's empowerment is being used to cover up an ordinance which will be used as a weapon against minorities. We will support an act that implements the Justice Sachar report," Mr Yadav said.
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to re-issue the ordinance that makes the practice of instant triple talaq by Muslim men a penal offence.
Once signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, it will come into force for the third time in less than one year.
A bill on the ordinance making the practise of ''talaq-e-biddat'' (instance divorce) void and an offence is pending in Rajya Sabha. The bill will lapse on June 3 with the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha.
While opposition parties and some community leaders have claimed that jail term for a man for divorcing his wife is legally untenable, the government has asserted it provides justice and equality to Muslim women.
Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
A bill to convert the previous ordinance, issued in September 2018, was cleared by Lok Sabha in December and was pending in Rajya Sabha.
Since the bill could not get parliamentary approval, a fresh ordinance was issued.
These amendments were cleared by the cabinet on August 29, 2018. While the ordinance makes it a "non-bailable" offence, an accused can approach a magistrate before trial to seek bail.
In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself.
A provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail "after hearing the wife", the government had said.