India’s parliament has approved a bill that makes the Muslim practice of “instant divorce” a criminal offence.
“Triple talaq”, as it’s known, allows a husband to divorce his wife by repeating the word “talaq” (divorce) three times in any form, including email or text message.
The Supreme Court declared the practice unconstitutional in 2017.
Supporters say the new measure protects Muslim women. Opponents say the punishment is harsh and open to misuse.
Men found in breach of the new law can be jailed for up to three years.
The bill was first tabled in 2017 but stalled in the upper house of parliament, where some MPs called it unfair.
India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supports the bill, while the main opposition Congress party opposes it.
But the BJP doesn’t have a majority in the upper house. On Tuesday, the bill was passed by 99 votes to 84 after a number of walkouts and abstentions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to celebrate the vote as “a victory of gender justice”.
But others accused his Hindu nationalist BJP of targeting Muslims.
Asaduddin Owaisi, an MP from the opposition All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, said the new law was another attack on Muslim identity under the BJP, which has been in power since 2014.
(This story originally appeared on BBC News)