The Government and the Opposition once again clashed over the triple talaq bill, which was tabled by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The controversial bill seeks to make the practice “void and illegal and an offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine”.
Initiating a debate in favour of the triple talaq bill, Prasad said, “What is not right in the Shariat should be corrected in law”.
Pushing for the passage of the bill in the House, the Union law minister said it was a “matter of gender justice”.
“Don’t look at this issue through political lenses. This is an issue of justice and humanity… an issue of women rights and empowerment… we can’t abandon our Muslim sisters,” Prasad said.
Prasad also cited the comments of two judges of the Supreme Court on triple talaq.
“One judge had said Triple Talaq is arbitrary and unconstitutional so should be abolished. Another judge said teen talaq is wrong by law, while other judges said that a law should be made against it,” he said.
“Irrespective of religion, all women are equal in the eyes of law. Why should Muslim women be left to fend for themselves? So many countries are bringing a law against Triple Talaq, then why can’t a secular country like India do it,” he argued.
After the Supreme Court judgement on triple talaq, 345 cases of triple talaq have come to light till 24th July 2019, he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition has unitedly decided to oppose the bill as it had been doing ever since the contentious bill was introduced.
The Opposition has termed the bill as “discriminatory” that “targets” Muslim men.
Revolutionary Socialist Party’s NK Premachandran opposed the bill saying, “Why are you not enforcing imprisonment for divorce in the Hindu and Christian communities? Why alone in the Muslim community? This is discrimination against the Muslim community”.
The Indian Union Muslim League also opposed the bill.
On June 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lashed out at the opposition Congress over the issue of triple talaq and its approach towards Muslims while insisting that his own government’s effort to end the practice of instant triple talaq should not be linked to religion.
Modi said the Congress had missed two opportunities on adopting a Uniform Civil Code – first in 1951 and then in 1986 – adding that the party has now a third chance to make it right by supporting the Triple Talaq bill.
The Prime Minister’s comments came after the opposition opposed the penal provision in the bill on June 21 in the Parliament.
The law seeks to declare the practice of triple talaq to be void and illegal and makes it an offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine.
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.