New Delhi: The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The Bill was taken up in the House for debate amid uproar by opposition parties.
The Bill has been passed in the absence of Congress and AIADMK lawmakers who staged a walkout minutes ahead of voting.
The bill was passed by 245 votes in favour and 11 against it.
Opposition parties, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK and RJD, staged walkout soon after Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad concluded his reply.
Several amendments moved by opposition were negated by a division that was insisted by opposition members.
The debate on the bill, which was tabled by the law minister last week, began in Lok Sabha amidst exchange of barbs between the treasury benches and the Opposition.
Opposition parties demanded that the bill be sent to a joint select committee for a greater scrutiny dubbing its provisions "unconstitutional".
Prasad said the government has already taken note of concerns expressed by members earlier and amended the bill accordingly.
Addressing the House, Prasad said that the bill has made the offence compoundable, meaning that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise, and that only the wife and her close relatives can file an FIR, ruling out the law's misuse.
"Don't weigh the bill on the scales of politics. The bill is about Insaaniyat aur insaaf (humanity and justice)," he said, as he urged the lawmakers of different parties to speak in one voice to support the legislation.
The fresh bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh bill will supersede an earlier bill passed in Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The earlier bill was approved by the Lower House. But amid opposition by some parties in the Upper House, the government had then cleared some amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable.
However, as the bill continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September, incorporating the amendments. An ordinance has a life of six months. But from the day a session begins, it has to be replaced by a bill which should be passed by Parliament within 42 days (six weeks), else it lapses.
The government is at liberty to re-promulgate the ordinance if the bill fails to get through Parliament.
Who said what?
Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi defended penal provision in the triple talaq bill saying it is important to instil fear in the minds of those still practising it and rejected suggestions that it was against any religion.
He also said acts like murder are against the law but people still commit such crime and hence there is provision for punishment.
This is not to victimise anyone but to provide safety and protection to Muslim women, he said, adding, Muslim Personal Law Board and Ulemas are also against triple talaq.
When Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge interrupted Naqvi saying there is no such thing in Hindu and Christianity then why there should be discrimination against Muslim men, the Minority Affairs Minister replied that there is no such thing called triple talaq being practiced in those religions.
Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani
Union Minister Smriti Irani slammed the Congress saying it missed opportunities to bring a similar law when in power.
Referring to a verse of the Holy Quran, Irani said the issue of instant triple talaq was also dealt by a 'khalifa'. When Mohd Salim of CPI-M wanted her to name the 'khalifa' she was referring to, Irani said she can even take the name of Hazrat Sahib but would want the opposition leader to chant 'Hanuman Chalisa'.
Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi questioned the intention of the government behind criminalising triple talaq while it has supported decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Owaisi said 100 per cent of Muslim population is against the move to criminalise triple talaq as it is against the rights of faith and belief provided in the constitution.
Sushmita Dev, Congress
Congress MP Sushmita Dev said that the real purpose of the bill was not to empower Muslim women but to "penalise" Muslim men.
"In the name of empowerment you (the government) have given nothing but a criminal case to women...the aim of the bill is not to empower Muslim women but to penalise Muslim men," Sushmita Dev said.
Md Salim, CPI(M)
CPI(M)'s politburo member and its deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Md Salim said the main concern of the opposition parties regarding the bill was that it criminalises triple talaq.
He said that the move was an attempt of the government to divert attention of the public from the failed promises made by the BJP before the elections.
Dharmendra Yadav, Samajwadi Party
Dharmendra Yadav said the BJP government has brought this bill keeping in mind vote bank politics. Since the Supreme Court has already said that triple talaq is illegal, there was no need to bring a separate law.
Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal
RJD MP Jay Prakash Narayann Yadav said the bill shows dictatorship of the government. While marriage and divorce are civil matters, it is being made a criminal offence, he added.
E T Mohammed Basheer (Indian Union Muslim League)
IUML MP E T Mohammed Basheer said personal laws have protection of Article 25 of the Constitution. "This legislation is ill motivated and against the fundamental rights given in the Constitution," he added.
Supriya Sule, Nationalist Congress Party
NCP MP Supriya Sule sought to know from the government why it adopted the Ordinance route to implement the law and suggested that the bill be sent to select committee and that its report could be given within 2 weeks.
She suggested that instead of triple talaq bill, the government should bring in legislations like women reservation bill and bill against marital rape to empower women....