New Delhi: A bill to make instant triple talaq illegal and void and awarding a jail term of up to three years to the husband, was introduced in the Lok Sabha Thursday amid protests by several opposition parties.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill would come up for consideration and passage later in the day as the government wanted it to be taken up today itself.
Introducing the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was a “historic day”.
But before he introduced the legislation, several opposition parties opposed its introduction saying it was arbitrary in nature and a faulty proposal.
Members from RJD, AIMIM, BJD, Indian Union Muslim League and AIADMK, who had given notice to oppose its introduction spoke against the measure. But members from the Congress and the Left, who were also opposing it from their benches, were not allowed to speak as they had not given notice. SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav was also seen opposing the bill.
The TMC, which had opposed the draft bill earlier, was silent.
While JPN Yadav of RJD questioned the proposed three-year jail term, AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi said Parliament lacks the legislative competence to pass the law as it violated fundamental rights.
He said while the bill talks only about Muslim women being abandoned, the government should also worry about nearly 20 lakh women of various religions who are abandoned by their husbands, “including our bhabhi from Gujarat”.
Muslim League’s E T Mohammed Bashir said the proposed law was violative of personal laws and was a politically motivated move.
B Mahtab (BJD) said while he would not talk about the merits of the bill, its framing was “faulty and “flawed”. He said if the proposed law makes the practice of instant triple talaq illegal and void, how can a person be jailed for pronouncing ‘talaq-e-biddat’.
A Anwar Raja of the AIADMK opposed the bill.
Soon after the introduction of the bill was approved, Prasad wondered whether Parliament can remain silent if the fundamental rights of women were being trampled upon.
He said the legislation was not aimed against any religion but was framed to provide a sense of justice, security and honour to women.
He said the law was required as even after the Supreme Court had struck down the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ in August, it was continuing. He claimed that as recently as today, a woman in Rampur was given instant triple talaq by her husband for getting up late.
Parliament has to decide whether the victims of triple talaq have fundamental rights or not, he said after some opposition members claimed it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
“It is a historic day. We are making history today,” Prasad said.
The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ and give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.
The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
Under the law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be bad or illegal and void.
According to the proposed law which would be applicable to the entire country except in Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant talaq would attract a jail term of upto three years and a fine. It would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence. PTI