Triple Talaq Bill sails through in Rajya Sabha

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 30, 2019

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An archaic, medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history: PM

Despite opposition from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Narendra Modi government managed to get the controversial Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, commonly referred to as triple Talaq Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha, will soon become an Act after President Ramnath Kovind’s nod. The Bill also has a provision that makes triple talaq a criminal offence.

The Opposition’s motion to send the Bill to a select committee and an amendment to remove the clause that criminalises a civil wrong, were defeated as the Centre got 100 votes when the Opposition could muster just 84 votes. The result was the same when the Bill was also put to vote by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.

Welcoming the passage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country rejoices that an archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history. “Parliament corrects a historical wrong done to the Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice, will further equality in society,” he said.

The victory was also made possible by the the support of the Biju Janata Dal. The walkout staged by the AIADMK, and the Janata Dal(United) and the absence of TRS members , too, helped the BJP. Some members of the Nationlist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were also absent during the voting. Replying to the Opposition’s charge that the Centre is criminalising a civil issue, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said similar provisions were there in civil laws for the prohibition of dowry, bigamy and polygamy among Hindu men.

The BJP members claimed that three-year jail term for the Muslim men who practise triple talaq will create fear. Prasad added that there were 574 cases of triple talaq even after the Supreme Court banned the practice.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Bill was a ploy by the BJP to destruct Muslim households using domestic issues. He urged the Centre to abide by the Supreme Court’s directions and bring a law against mob lynching.

Prasad countered saying that he is not a law minister of the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet and the BJP will not repeat the Congress’ mistake, the party that stood against Shah Bano. “I will not leave women who have been divorced by triple talaq via WhatsApp or other such means in the lurch. When Muslim world is trying to reform, why can’t a democracy do the same,” he said after citing examples.

Earlier, RJD leader Manoj Jha said in House that the Bill was an example of “dog whistle politics” where the Centre is trying to give a message to its cadre rather than standing with women affected by the practice of triple talaq. Congress member Digvijaya Singh said about 25 lakh hindu women are abandoned by their husbands and the Centre should bring a legislation for them too.

Published on July 30, 2019

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