Monday, Nov 28, 2022

Rajya Sabha Clears Triple Talaq Bill; 'Victory For Crores Of Muslim Mothers, Sisters,' Says PM Modi

Most of the Opposition parties objected to the provision of criminalising instant triple talaq, which comes into effect when a Muslim man utters the word "talaq" thrice in front of her wife.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks in the Rajya Sabha. (ANI)

The contentious Triple Talaq Bill was on Tuesday cleared by the Rajya Sabha, despite the Opposition parties such as Congress, TMC, SP, AIADMK and DMK demanding the proposed legislation be sent to a select committee for further scrutiny. 

The Upper House passed the bill by 99 votes in favour and 84 against it. The motion to send the bill to select committee was rejected by 100-84 votes.

While BJD supported the legislation, JD-U and AIADMK walked out, lowering the majority mark which normally stands at 121. The ruling NDA has 107 members in the 242-member Rajya Sabha.

The NDA was also helped by the absence of some members of SP and BSP as well as those of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR-Congress.

The Opposition objected to the provision of criminalising instant triple talaq, which comes into effect when a Muslim man utters the word "talaq" thrice in front of her wife. 

Once granted assent by the President, the bill will replace an ordinance promulgated last on February 21 to the same effect as the bill.

Replying to a four-and-half-hour debate on the Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad cited jail provisions in the legislation that ban dowry and multiple marriages by Hindu men to justify the three-year jail term for Muslim men practices triple talaq.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated parliamentarians on the clearance of the bill, saying it was a historic day for the country.

Earlier in the day, Prasad moved the bill saying it shouldn't be looked through a political prism. 

Urging members to approve 'The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019', he said the practice of triple talaq is continuing despite the Supreme Court banning the same through its judgement.

He said after the Supreme Court judgement banning instant triple talaq as many as 574 cases of the illegal practice have come to the notice of the government.

He added that after the last ordinance issued by the government criminalising the practice, as many as 101 cases have come to light.

"The judgement has come, but no action on triple talaq has been taken. That is why we have brought this law because the law is deterrence," he said.

Prasad the practice has been banned in more than 20 Islamic countries but has not happened in secular India due to one or the other reason.

The Bill was cleared by Lok Sabha last week.

Participating in the debate, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that the bill is politically motivated and the real objective behind bringing the Bill was the destruction of
Muslim families.

He claimed that the objections raised by him have not been addressed and instead the government has done "cosmetic surgery".

Azad observed that marriage is a civil contract in Islam and it is being given a criminal face through the proposed legislation.

He sought to know if the government will provide sustenance allowance to women whose husbands are lodged in prison for Triple Talaq during the three-year period.

The Congress leader claimed that Talaq could be uttered thrice in anger like a curse, and may not be actually executed, and therefore, men cannot be punished for it.

Triple Talaq according to Supreme Court is null and void, Azad said, wondering how Muslim men after staying in jail for three years will go home and live peacefully with their wives.

(With inputs from PTI)