Press Trust of india

Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq bill

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New Delhi, Dec 27 : Lok Sabha Thursday passed the bill which criminalises the practice of instant Triple Talaq, with the government rejecting the contention that it was aimed at targeting a particular community.

The opposition, which had been demanding that the bill be referred to a 'joint select committee', staged a walkout when its demand was rejected by the government.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 was passed by the Lower House with 245 voting in favour and 11 opposing the legislation.

The bill will now go to Rajya Sabha for approval.

Piloting the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that there should be no politics on the bill, stressing that it was not against any particular community.

"Don't weigh the bill on the scales of politics. The bill is about humanity and justice," he said, urging lawmakers of different parties to speak in one voice to support the legislation.

He regretted that opposition parties were creating hurdles in its passage due to "vote bank politics".

The fresh bill will supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill to make the practice of Triple Talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.

Under the proposed law, giving instant Triple Talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.

In view of the opposition by some parties in the upper house, the government had then cleared some amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable.

Congress, TMC, AIADMK and RJD staged walkout soon after Prasad concluded his reply. Several amendments moved by opposition were negated by a division that was insisted by opposition members.

Responding to demand of opposition parties, including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, that the bill be sent to a select committee for study, Prasad said the government has already taken note of concerns expressed by members earlier and amended the bill accordingly.

Prasad said the bill has made the offence compoundable, meaning that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise, and that only the wife and her close relatives can file an FIR, ruling out the law's misuse.

He said as many as 477 cases of Triple Talaq have been reported since January 2017 and cited a case where a professor gave Talaq to his wife over Whatsapp. Another Muslim man gave Talaq to his wife for attending the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally, the Union Law minister said, urging if the House unitedly can pass a bill for capital punishment for rape of girls below age of 12 years, then why not this legislation.

Leader of Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said that bill was against the spirit of the Constitution and has violated several articles dealing with the rights of individuals.

Congress MP Sushmita Dev said the real purpose of the bill was not to empower Muslim women but to "penalise" Muslim men.

Demanding that the bill be referred to the joint select committee of Parliament, Dev said criminalisation of Triple Talaq goes against the Supreme Court verdict.

AIADMK leader P Venugopal, TMC's Sudip Bandhopadhyay, AIMIM's Assaduddin Owaisi and Supriya Sule (NCP) also made similar demands.

Union minister Smriti Irani said if Parliament can enact laws to ban dowry and the practice of sati, it can also approve the bill to ban instant Triple Talaq.

Defending the penal provisions in the bill, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was important to instill fear in the minds of those still practising it and rejected suggestions that it was against any religion.

Muslim bodies divided …

New Delhi, Dec 27 :  The passage of the Triple Talaq bill drew mixed reactions from Muslim bodies Thursday, with some terming it "very dangerous", while others welcoming it.

S Q R Ilayas, member of working committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said there was no need for this bill and it has been brought keeping in mind the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

"It is a very dangerous bill that will make a civil issue a criminal offence. Who will take care of the wives and children once the husband goes to jail?" he said.

He also said that instead of gender justice, the bill would prove to be a "punishment" for men and women from the community.

"Four crore women signed a petition saying they do not want the bill then who are these Muslim women who want it," he questioned the government.

Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, general secretary of the All India Ulema Council, said when the government has scrapped Triple Talaq, why is it even being discussed here.

"The government should be focusing on fund for Muslim women and children who will be left without any source of income once their husband goes to jail," he said.

Zakia Soman, member of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, welcomed the bill and further demanded the Muslim Marriage Act on lines of the Hindu Marriage Act that would deal with other issues like polygamy and child guardianship.

The Lok Sabha Thursday passed the bill which criminalises the practice of instant Triple Talaq, with the government rejecting the contention that it was aimed at targeting a particular community.

The opposition, which had been demanding that the bill be referred to a 'joint select committee', staged a walkout when its demand was rejected by the government.

Just before the bill was to be passed by a voice vote, the opposition sought a division and the bill was passed by 245 votes in favour and 11 against it.

Several amendments moved by opposition were negated by a division that was insisted by opposition members.

Women activists term it 'political move' to polarise country before LS polls

New Delhi, Dec 27: Several women activists Thursday criticised the passage of the Triple Talaq bill, saying it was a "political move" aimed at polarising the country before the Lok Sabha polls.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, was passed by Lok Sabha Thursday amid protests from opposition parties.

Secretary, All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), Kavita Krishnan, asked how the law can be different for different communities.

"Why such an offence (abandoning wives) when committed by a non-Muslim man is considered to be a civil offence and the same is being criminalised when committed by a Muslim man?" she asked.

"I think the fundamental objection that my organisation, AIPWA, and other women groups had on this bill stands. We had objected to the offence of instant Triple Talaq being criminalised. Our position is that there is no basis to make this a criminal offence," Krishnan said.

She said a wrongful attempt to divorce or deserting a wife must be a civil offence and not a criminal one.

"There is ample evidence that desertion of wife without a due process of divorce is committed by man of all faith and community. It is not unique to Muslim men," Krishnan said.

CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat said her party has opposed the Triple Talaq bill as it criminalises an essentially civil matter.

"For no other community law is desertion a ground for arrest. The bill is a masquerade by the Modi government to conceal the reality that its agenda is not the protection of the rights of Muslim women but the promotion of its sectarian anti-minority policies.

"I support the Supreme Court judgment for the end of arbitrary and instant Triple Talaq, but nowhere has the court given sanction for criminalisation," she said.

Karat said the bill has no provision for protecting of woman's rights for residence and maintenance, and instead gives the rights to a magistrate.

"This will lead to a great difficulty for the woman," she said.

Annie Raja, general secretary, National Federation of Indian Women, termed the bill a "fraud" and said the "government has taken this step for political gains in view of the upcoming elections to polarise the country".

She pointed out that there are issues related to maintenance of women and children after the husband goes to jail which remains unexplained in the bill.

Women's rights activist, Shabnam Hashmi said by criminalising Triple Talaq in the bill the government intends to polarise people ahead of the elections.

"We had sought that this bill be sent to a select committee for wider consultation. This has a political agenda. The Modi government has nothing to do with the welfare of women, be it Hindu, Muslim or women of any other faith.

"(Prime Minister) Narendra Modi is trying to be a Messiah for Muslim women, which he is not. Muslim women have much more graver problems than this and those are not being addressed," Hashmi said.

President, All Indian Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Malini Bhattacharya said in our opinion it is politically motivated.

"The progressive sections within the Islamic community will be cornered as a result of the implementation of the bill and it will fuel Islamic fundamentalism as well," she said.

The AIDWA has always opposed it as it is being criminalised when there is no need for it, Bhattacharya said.

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