Lok Sabha passes Bill to criminalise triple talaq

Earlier in the morning, at the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi had called for a consensus in passing the Bill.

New Delhi: After 22 MPs spoke in a more than four-and-a-half-hour long heated marathon session on Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, taking a crucial step ahead to make talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq an illegal act that would be punishable with up to three years in jail for the husband of the affected wife.

Under the proposed law, instant triple talaq in any form would be illegal and void be it through a pronouncement by the husband, or in writing, by email, SMS or on WhatsApp.

The Bill also empowers the affected wife to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children as also their custody.

The debate saw members from across the political spectrum holding forth their views, objections and suggested corrections, in a threadbare discussion that saw some brilliant speeches, but it was not before rejecting a slew of amendments.

While the government declared the passing of the Bill in the Lower House as “historic”, the Congress, RJD, AIMIM, BJD, AIADMK and the All India Muslim League opposed the Bill terming it arbitrary and a faulty one. The Trinamul did not participate in the deliberations.

Earlier in the morning, at the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for a consensus in passing the Bill. Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also briefed BJP members on different aspects and provisions of the draft law.

Most Opposition members expressed support for the Bill and the spirit behind it but expressing concern at the same time on certain provisions underlining a need for further and wider consultations.

The Bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha where it is expected to pass muster given the Congress’ stated support to the legislation although the government lacks majority before being forwarded to the President for the final assent before it becomes a law. Moving the Bill, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said several Islamic nations including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia and Tunisia have regulated triple talaq and India should follow suit. “See where Islamic nations have reached and see where we are,” he said.

“I appeal to this House and the biggest panchayat that please do not see this Bill from the prism of politics,” adding it should neither be confined within the walls of political parties, nor should it be looked as vote bank politics.

On August 22, Supreme Court had ruled triple talaq as unconstitutional and arbitrary.

“We were expecting that after this judgement, triple talaq cases would come down and situation would improve... About 300 triple talaq cases happened in 2017 the issue is not of religion, faith, puja, the issue is gender justice, equality and dignity", the law minister added.

Demanding that the Bill should be referred to the Standing Committee, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said no consultations were held while some lacunas needed to be corrected. “Why you are in a hurry to give empowerment,” Mr Kharge asked.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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