New Delhi: A bill criminalising triple talaq was passed in Lok Sabha on Thursday amid protest from opposition parties. The house members rejected several amendments moved by opposition members before passing the bill.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 criminalises triple talaq or instant divorce and has provision for a maximum three-year jail term and fine for practising triple talaq. It also gives Muslim women right to seek maintenance and right to child’s custody.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad moved the triple talaq Bill for consideration in the Lok Sabha. Terming the bill as “historic”, Prasad said the issue was not of religion or faith but of “gender justice and gender equality”. He said instant triple talaq continues despite the Supreme Court ruling it as unconstitutional in August this year. Prasad said that talaq-e-biddat has been banned in many Muslim-majority countries, adding that the government doesn’t want to interfere in sharia. Concluding the debate, he later said that if the MPs empathise with Muslim women, they must support the bill.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Sushmita Devi and RJD leader Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav said the provision for three-year imprisonment was unfair and said it could disturb the social fabric. Kharge said the bill should be referred to the standing committee. AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi said the bill violated the fundamental rights and lacked “basic legal coherence”. He also questioned the need to create another law for this, while there was an existing law on domestic violence.
The bill criminalising triple talaq was introduced after a voice vote, as all treasury benches members supported its introduction. Members from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Biju Janata Dal, and some other parties spoke against the introduction of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a consensus in passage of the bill on making instant triple talaq a punishable offence, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said.