Visuals from Lok Sabha during voting on Triple Talaq bill introduction on Friday. Photo/ANI
Visuals from Lok Sabha during voting on Triple Talaq bill introduction on Friday. Photo/ANI

Triple talaq Bill tabled in LS amidst stiff opposition

ANI | Updated: Jun 21, 2019 17:33 IST

New Delhi [India], June 21 (ANI): On the first day of the Lok Sabha session, the Modi government, in its second tenure, introduced the the controversial triple talaq Bill, amidst stiff opposition from Congress and Muslim Majlis after a division was pressed opposing the tabling of the measure.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, that seeks to criminalise the act of instant divorce among Muslims with a three-year jail sentence for men was finally introduced after a brief debate.
AIMIM member Salauddin Owaisi pressed for a division and the voting saw 186 members supporting the bill and 74 against. The voting had to be taken through paper slips as the newly-elected members have to be allotted seats and division numbers yet in the electronic voting system.
The bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha in December last but lapsed in the Rajya Sabha after the dissolution of the Lower House, seeks to replace an ordinance issued by the government in February.
The government got introduction of the triple talaq bill as the first legislative business of the 17th Lok Sabha but it met with stiff opposition from Congress and Muslim Majlis at the introduction stage itself.
They persisted with their opposition and Speaker Om Birla allowed a brief discussion before the voting. The new Speaker also got the first taste of ruckus in the House and intervened to bring order.
In his objections, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said "The bill does nothing to improve the status of Muslim women."
He contended that the Bill would supersede the existing civil and criminal laws and cannot claim exception under Art 15 of the Constitution.
Owaisi said the Bill was in violation of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution in regard to fundamental rights. He said the measure was not in the interest of the Muslim women as how an arrested husband pay for her maintenance.
He also attacked the BJP questioning its "love" for Muslim women when it was not showing the same "love" for Hindu women in Kerala in the Sabarimala temple entry issue even after the Supreme Court verdict.
He said there was no need for a separate law after the Supreme Court had declared triple talaq as null and void. The Muslim women were also covered under the Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 of the Cr Procedure Code and the Muslim Marriage Act, he contended.
Repying to the objections, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad put up a stiff defence of the government move saying the issue was not of religion but of women.
"There is no religion, no prayers no rituals. It is about justice and rights of women. It is a matter of humanity. The rights of Muslim women will be protected. It is about justice and empowerment of women," he said.
"People have chosen us to make laws. It is our work to make laws. Law is to give justice to the victims of triple talaq," Prasad said.
Referring to the opposition members' contentions, the Law Minister said Art 15 had a proviso that nothing in the article could prevent the government from making any speciai provisions for women.
He said even after the Supreme Court declaring the triple talaq practice as null and void, 31 FIRs have been filed against men for illegal divorce.
Prasad said 22 Islamic countries have regulatged instant divorce among Muslims.
Later, the minister told reporters outside that it was a matter of great distress that the Congress party has chosen to oppose the bill in Parliament and has not learnt lessons even after the huge defeat in the elections.
He said the Congress party has joined the likes of Owaisi as the Congress party had not opposed the bill in December last year. It had then walked out.
Prasad said it was distressing because the Congress was doing this when it had Sonia Gandhi, a woman, as its leader.
Talking to reporters, Owaisi said the bill was unconstitutional and would be a great injustice against Muslim women if the Bill became law.
"Triple talaq Bill is unconstitutional. It is a violation of the Constitution's Article 14 and 15. We already have the Domestic Violence Act 2005, CrPC Section 125, Muslim Women Marriage Act. If Triple Talaq Bill becomes a law it will be even greater injustice against women," he told reporters outside the Parliament.
Voicing his opposition, Owaisi said, "If a man gets arrested how will he give allowance from jail? The government says if a Muslim man commits this crime the marriage will remain intact and he will be jailed for three years if punished by the court. He will be jailed for three yrs but marriage will be intact. What law is Mr (Narendra) Modi forming?"
"I would like to ask him (Modi) what kind of justice is this that if such law is implemented on a non-Muslim man then he goes to jail for one year and a Muslim man goes to jail for three years," he added.
On being asked about his party's stand on the triple talaq Bill, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan said that they support what is written in the Quran.
"Our stand is similar to what is written in the Quran," he said.
"No religion has given more rights to women than Islam. 1500 years ago, Islam was the first religion to have given the right of equality to women. Today, we witness the lowest divorce rate and the lowest cases of violence on women in Islam. Women are not burnt or killed", said Azam Khan, MP from Uttar Pradesh's Rampur Constituency.
"Triple Talaq is a religious issue not a political issue and nothing is more supreme for a Muslim than Quran. On marriage, on divorce, for everything, the Quran has clear instructions and we follow it", he further added. (ANI)