Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha. This comes months after the Supreme Court struck down the Muslim practice of instant divorce. Prasad tabled the triple talaq bill or the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, that criminalises the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims, in the lower house, calling it a “historic day” amid opposition to its introduction by members of different parties, including RJD, AIMIM, BJD and All India Muslim League.
According to a PTI news report, The Lok Sabha after a long debate had passed the bill making instant triple talaq illegal. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill passed by Lok Sabha by voice vote
Prasad said that the law is about justice and respect for women and is not about any religion or community, adding that the practice of instant triple has continued despite the Supreme Court order terming it void.
The BJP had issued a whip in the lower House, asking all of its members to be present today and tomorrow to ensure the smooth sailing of the bill.
Two amendments moved by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi and one by Biju Janata Dal’s Bhartruhari Mahtab have been negated. Amendments moved by Congress’s Sushmita Dev and Communist Party of India-Marxist’s A Sampath also negated
Meanwhile terming the triple talaq Bill as one with several lacunae, Congress MP Sushmita Dev on Thursday said had there been more women in the Lok Sabha a “flawed” Bill like the one brought by the government can never be passed and asked why the government was not bringing the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said the Bill had been brought to give Muslim women “instant relief”.
Initiating the debate on The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, Dev pointed out that the government was not legislating on the issue of marital rape citing that the law might be misused, and questioned if the law on Talaq-e-Biddat may not be misused.
“Women’s equality is not an idea but a right… The entire country is waiting for the Women’s Reservation Bill, not because we need reservation but had there been more women in the House, a Bill like this with so many lacunae would not be passed,” Dev said.
“You are not ready to criminalise marital rape… Would this Bill also not open possibilities for abuse of Muslim men,” she said.
Congress, while supporting the Bill, sought to send the Bill to a standing committee to weed out the shortcomings in the legislation, but the government did not agree.
Dev said there were contradictions in the Bill, and pointed out that while there is a provision for three-year jail term, the Bill also provides women right to seek maintenance from the husband, and questioned how a jailed husband would provide that amount, and urged the government to set up a corpus to help such women.
She said the Bill’s provisions would close all ways for reconciliation. She also questioned why the government waited for the Supreme Court judgment before bringing the law if they found the practice so regressive.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi, speaking after Dev, said that divorce was a painful process, because of which women suffered throughout their life.
“God forbid that any woman has to go through a divorce,” the MP said. She said that to give Muslim women instant relief from this practice this Bill had been brought.
“The speed at which this divorce is given, the government wanted to bring a Bill to give relief to women at the same speed,” she said. “When it is a case of triple talaq, where is the scope for reconciliation,” she said.
She also accused Congress of appeasing Muslims and said there is a need for codification of Islamic law in the country.
“They (Congress) always did appeasement politics for which the country has paid for 30 years and today we have this chance. If we lose this chance today we will not have another chance.,” she said.
“Codification of Islamic law is needed in this country. No one knows what is Sharia, Talaq-e-Biddat… No one knows the difference,” she added