Moving a step closer to ending the practice of instant divorce among Muslims, the controversial triple talaq bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Introducing the bill in the Upper House, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated the Centre’s stand that it was a “matter of gender justice, dignity and equality”.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 that prohibits divorce by pronouncing talaq thrice in one go was passed with 303 votes in favour on July 25 in the Lok Sabha.
The bill was passed amid a walkout by several opposition parties including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress.
The bill is now expected to have a smooth passage in the Rajya Sabha as well, as NDA ally Janata Dal (United) staged a walkout in Rajya Sabha.
The JD(U) claimed it was against the bill and said it would “create a lack of trust in society”.
The AIADMK also walked out in protest against the bill.
With the walkouts, the majority mark has been brought down, making it easier for the government to push through the bill in the Rajya Sabha just like the landmark Right To Information (RTI) Act that was passed last week.
The strength of the Upper House is 241, which went down to 213 after the walkout by the JD(U) and the AIADMK. The new majority mark is 107.
Defending the bill, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The Bill should not be seen from a political prism. It should not be seen as vote bank politics. It is an issue related to humanity…it is related to the dignity of the women”.
He further said that today when daughters of India are achieving success in every field, the women “cannot be left at the roads through triple talaq”.
As the debate on the Triple Talaq Bill resumed after 2 pm, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said although the bill is for the protection of rights on marriage, its “real motive is destruction of families”.
He further said the bill was “politically motivated”.
The controversial bill seeks to make the practice “void and illegal and an offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine”.
The Opposition has termed the bill as “discriminatory” that “targets” Muslim men.
Earlier, on June 12, the Union Cabinet approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, paving the way for the legislation to be introduced in Parliament.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 will replace an ordinance issued in February by the previous BJP-led NDA government.
The Supreme Court had in August 2017 declared “triple talaq” unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality before the law and directed the government to enact a law on the issue.