In just one day of discussion, a bill that makes triple talaq a criminal offence was been passed in the Lok Sabha ( LS ) on Thursday.
New Delhi: The Muslim Women ( Protection of Rights on Marriage ) Bill, outlawing the practice of talaq-e-biddat or triple talaq was been passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The Bill was introduced by the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and he hailed the passage of the Bill, saying “we are making history today”.
Highlighted Points In The Passed Bill:
• The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void(i.e, not enforceable in law) and illegal. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce. Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
• Offence and penalty: The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence. (A cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant.) A husband declaring talaq can be imprisoned for up to three years along with a fine.
• Allowance: A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be decided by a First Class Magistrate.
• Custody of minor children: A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The determination of custody will be made by the Magistrate.
Despite many opposition parties were against this Bill, the bill was still cleared on the same day that it was introduced- something that was possible because the BJP government has a brute majority in the Lower House.
Union Minister, MJ Akbar welcomed the bill and said that it would have far reaching implications for 9 crore Muslim women who by then were living under the “constant fear of being divorced”.
Opposition parties like RJD, BJD, AIMIM, All India Muslim League and Samajwadi Party ( SP ) were completely against the proposed Bill and said that it violates the fundamental rights of Muslim women.
“This bill is flawed, there are many internal contradictions in the Bill,” said BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab.
While AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi said, “It violates fundamental rights and lacks legal coherence.”
On the other hand, the Congress Party approach towards this Bill is different from all other opposition parties. They said that they are supporting this Bill, but will raise objections about its criminal provisions.
Senior Congress leader Salma Khurshid said, “…they didn’t make us understand how this criminality of Triple Talaq will benefit women. If someone is lodged in prison as a punishment for saying Triple Talaq, who will take care of his family,”
Mallikarjun Kharge from Congress Party demanded that the Bill should be sent to the standing committee.
“All of us (Congress) are supporting this bill, but there are certain lacunae which should and can be rectified in the standing committee, we can sit together and sort out in a time bound manner,” he said in the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile the Bill will now move on to the Rajya Sabha where it is likely to sail through, given the Congress’s stated support to the legislation.