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Triple Talaq Bill passed in RS with tacit support from JD(U), AIADMK and TRS

The bill was passed in the Parliament's Upper House with 99 votes in its favour and 84 against

Wednesday July 31, 2019 2:45 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Rajya Sabha Passes Triple Talaq Bill

New Delhi: The Bill outlawing Instant Talaq, popularly known as Triple Talaq, was on Tuesday passed in the Rajya Sabha with tacit support from Nitish Kumar's JD (U), BSP, AIADMK and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, was tabled in the upper house for debate and passage by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who said that though the practice had been banned in many Islamic countries, India had not done so despite being a secular nation.

The bill was passed in the Parliament's Upper House with 99 votes in its favour and 84 against.

The Bill, which criminalises the practice of instant divorce among the Muslim community, has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The earlier attempt by the Modi government to pass the bill in Rajya Sabha where it still lacks majority support had failed in 2018. However, JD(U), AIADMK and TRS which opposed the bill eventually helped the government to pass the bill.

While JD(U), BSP and AIADMK MPs walked out of the House bringind down the majority mark, TRS helped the government by abstaining from voting. AIADMK has 11 MPs, JD (U) 06, BSP 04 and TRS has 06.

Also absent from the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday were 02 MPs of NCP, including Sharad Pawar, 04 MPs of Congress, 02 PDP members and 06 members of Samajwadi Party (SP), including Tazeen Fatema, wife of SP MP Azam Khan.

'Nothing in it to protect Muslim women'

Earlier in the day, while participating in the discussion, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad opposed the Bill and demanded it be referred to a Select Committee so that each provision in it was duly analysed and vetted.

Azad took on the Law Minister for selectively quoting Supreme Court orders. He said the government should also bring legislation on mob lynching as a similar direction had come from the apex court in the wake of rising violence against the minority community.

He called the Bill politically motivated and said there was nothing in it to protect Muslim women, for their subsistence allowance and their children.

'Abandoned Wives'

Javed Ali Khan of the Samajwadi Party, who opposed the Bill, said there were women in the country who had been abandoned by their husbands.

"I want to know if the government is planning to bring any law to ensure the abandoned wives receive allowance from these husbands," Khan asked.

This prompted BJP leader Bhupender Yadav to say that a charge cannot be levelled against any person unless he or she has been convicted by a court.

Replying to the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad countered criticism by the opposition parties on making Triple Talaq a cognizable offence.

Also Read | Politically motivated, says Opp as LS passes Triple Talaq bill once again

He said that nobody questioned the penal provision when the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, Dowry Act of 1961 and Section 498A were brought.

The Minister said the Hindu Marriage Act said the minimum age of the groom should be 21 and of the bride 18. A two-year jail term was provided for those violating the law. Then it was not said that it would disturb married life, he said.

Further, the law provides that a marriage will be void in case a person went for remarriage even as he or she had a spouse.

Quoting a book by an Islamic scholar, Prasad said that if Prophet Mohammed disapproved of Triple Talaq centuries back, why were we in 2019 debating whether it was right or wrong.

When put to vote after the reply by the Law Minister, the motion to send the Bill to a Select Committee was defeated with 84 in favour and 100 against it.

The Bill makes declaration of triple talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years' imprisonment with a fine.

Under the proposed law, a Muslim woman against whom triple talaq has been declared is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and also for her dependent children.

A Muslim woman against whom Triple Talaq has been pronounced is entitled to seek custody of her minor children.

TMC leader Dola Sen demanded that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee. "We are all for women empowerment. We are all for women's rights. Two things -- one, just remove the criminality clause. Two, don't mock the Parliament by passing this Bill today. Send this Bill to a Select Committee," she said.

BJP's Saroj Pandey countered that all those supporting Triple Talaq were against women.

T.K.S. Elangovan of the DMK said he welcomed the Supreme Court order on Triple Talaq.

"But I strongly oppose the Bill because it is faulty and the government has failed to understand that the court has only made Triple Talaq unlawful and not divorce per se as unlawful," the Tamil Nadu leader said.

The BJD supported the Bill but asked the ruling party why it opposed a judgement on Sabarimala if it wanted to empower women.

Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh expressed reservation on the manner the Bill was brought and pointed out that the government had not consulted the Muslim community on the issue.

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