The contentious Triple Talaq Bill, which criminalises instant divorce among Muslims, was passed in the Lok Sabha by 303 ayes and 82 noes amid objections by the Opposition parties on Wednesday. The Triple Talaq Bill, 2019 will make the practice of instant divorce by simply saying the Talaq word thrice a criminal offence. The practice of instant divorce in Islam was banned by the Supreme Court in 2017. The top court had ruled that the practice was "un-Islamic".
Moving the bill for consideration, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the legislation was a must for gender equality and justice as despite an August 2017 Supreme Court verdict striking down the practice of instant triple talaq, women are being divorced by 'talaq-e-biddat'. He said, since January 2017, as many as 574 triple talaq cases and since the Supreme Court order, more than 300 such cases were reported by the media.
“There have been 345 cases of triple talaq after the judgment till July 24. Should we leave these women on roads? I am a minister in Narendra Modi government and not in Rajiv Gandhi government,” Prasad said during the debate on the bill.
Prasad rejected the Opposition's demand to send the bill to the Standing Committee for further scrutiny, saying that the Opposition doesn't want to scrutinise the bill but reject it altogether.The law minister argued that the bill has nothing to do with the religion and caste but it is all about the dignity of the women.
"If 20 Islamic countries can ban Triple Talaq, why can’t India? Even Mohammad Prophet said that triple talaq is a sin," Prasad said in the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, the main Opposition party Congress demanded the Triple Talaq Bill be sent to the Standing Committee for review, saying it targets Muslim community of the country. Participating in the discussion on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) bill in the Lok Sabha, Mohammad Jawed (INC) said the intent of the government is not clean and it wants to sideline the Muslim community of this country.
"I request the minister to send the bill to the Standing Committee for review and think of laws for separated women of all communities and not only Muslims," he said.
Raising questions against the Triple Talaq bill, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi asked, “How will a husband pay maintenance from jail? Why should a woman stay in such a marriage for three years while the husband in jail?” He also said that the law can also be misused.