New Delhi। The Bill to ban the practice of triple talaq and punish the guilty with three-year jail passed in the Rajya Sabha today.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 that prohibits divorce by pronouncing talaq thrice in one go passed with 90 votes in favour and 84 against.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A. Navaneethakrishnan of the AIADMK dubbed the Bill unconstitutional, arbitrary and illegal.
“It is not sustainable under law… I humbly submit to this House that Parliament has no legislative competence to entertain it,” he said, demanding scrutiny of the Bill by a Select Committee.
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.
The Bill, which criminalises the practice of instant divorce among the Muslim community, has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.
The Bill will now be sent to the president for approval and finally will become a law.