The contentious Bill to ban the practice of triple talaq among Muslims and punish the guilty husband with three years jail was on Thursday passed by the Lok Sabha despite the opposition's demand for its scrutiny by a Standing Committee.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill,2019 which prohibits divorce by pronouncing talaq thrice in one occasion bytheir husbands was passed with 303 votes in favour and 82 against.
Replying to debate, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, whomoved the Bill for passage, said the legislation is not related to politics orreligion, but "a matter of women's dignity".
He said that Muslim women themselves have come up to him totell him that after this law comes to be, they will celebrate Eid andIndependence Day.
Noting many evils among Hindus in the country, such as satiand dowry, were penalised, Prasad said that penal law acts as a deterrent.
He said the only relevant stakeholders when it comes to theBill are the Muslim women, not the Muslim Boards in the country.
The Minister said the Bill that advocates three years jailfor a husband who goes for Triple Talaq was needed to provide gender justiceand equality.
Citing the Supreme Court's 2017 verdict striking down theillegal practice and asking Parliament to bring a law over the issue, Prasadsaid that women were being divorced by 'talaq-e-biddat' which is against genderjustice.
He said the Apex court had noted that 20 Islamic countriesincluding Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisiahad outlawed triple talaq. "And if they could do it, why cannot it be donein India which is a secular country?" he asked.
"The Supreme Court has said that triple talaq isarbitrary and unconstitutional and asked Parliament to make a law. When we comeup with a law, it is opposed. What should our Muslim women do in thissituation? Should our Muslim sisters be left (in this situation)?"
He said the Indian Constitution's core philosophy was genderjustice. "The Indian Constitution is equal for all daughters. So the Billis needed."
The Minister said that three ordinances had so beenpromulgated as a similar Bill moved by the previous Modi government could notget parliamentary approval.
A fresh Bill was introduced by the new government in June.Under the Bill, divorcing through instant triple talaq would be illegal, voidand attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
Prasad rejected fears that the proposed law could be misusedand asserted that certain safeguards had been put in it including provision forbail before trial.
While the Bill makes triple talaq a non-bailable offence, anaccused can approach a Magistrate before trial to seek bail. A provision hasbeen added to allow the Magistrate to grant bail "after hearing thewife", the Minister said.
BJP ally Janata Dal-United, however, opposed the Bill,saying there was a need to create public awareness on the issue with the helpof Muslim community leaders, and then walked out of the house.
Participating in the discussion, JD-U member Rajiv RanjanSingh said his party believed the Bill would cause harm to the society.
"The Bill will produce a different feeling in thesociety because no one wants that there should be differences in therelationship between wife and husband," he said.
Giving examples of misuse of other laws, he said: "Youmade the Anti-Dowry Act and Section 498A (of the IPC to stop cruelty againstwomen). But these laws are being misused. So if you will make another such law,it will be misused."
Calling the Bill "politically motivated" to targeta particular community, RSP's N.K. Premachandran said that Supreme Court hasnever given a directive to the government to make a law on this.
He asked why is the government not ready to make alegislation on mob lynching when it has been directed by the Supreme Court andthat consecutive promulgation of Ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution.
IUML's P.K. Kunhalikutty said the divorce rate of Muslims isvery low and accused the government of playing politics. "You have apolitical agenda, that's why you are bringing this Bill in a hurry".
Congress' S. Jothimani said the government is playing a"divide and rule policy" among women.
"Irrespective of religion, women are subjugated toinjustices and have been going through this for years. Rape and marital rapeare also important issues that the parliament should take up with the sameinterest," she said, adding the Bill goes strongly against the rights ofMuslims, and especially Muslim women.
The Bill must be sent to the Standing Committee, she demanded.
AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi said that the Supreme Court hasdecriminalised homosexuality and adultery, but the government is criminalisingtalaq. He asked who bears the burden of proof.
PDP not to support Centre on triple talaq Bill: MehboobaMufti
Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti onThursday said her party will not support the BJP-led government at the Centreon the triple talaq Bill.
"Jammu andKashmir has its own RTI Act 2009. No question of supporting the RTI bill inRajya Sabha," Mufti tweeted.
She was responding to media reports that the PeoplesDemocratic Party (PDP) will support the RTI (Amendment) bill in Rajya Sabha.
Mufti also reiterated her party's stand against the tripletalaq bill.
"Just to set the record straight. PDP MPs (Rajya Sabha)to oppose Triple Talaq bill," she said.
The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the triple talaq bill to make the practice of instant tripletalaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband.While in the Rajya Sabha, differences betweenthe opposition and treasury benches emerged over sending the RTI (Amendment)Bill to a Select Committee of the House forcing two adjournments in thepost-lunch period. The Parliament laterapproved the amendment to the RTI Act, with Rajya Sabha on Thursday passing itafter negating an Opposition sponsored motion to send it to a House committeefor greater scrutiny. The motion was negated by 117 members voting against themotion and 75 members voting in favour.