Opposition opposes triple talaq bill, says law must be for all communities

Updated: Jun 22, 2019, 14:04 IST | Agencies

Owaisi says BJP claims to fight for Muslim women but opposes Hindu women's entry to Sabarimala

Opposition opposes triple talaq bill, says law must be for all communities
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says the bill is a classic example of class legislation as it was pointed at one community - Muslims. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi (R) calls the bill unconstitutional. Pics/AFP/PTI

New Delhi: The government on Friday introduced the fresh triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha amid vehement protests by opposition members who claimed that it was violative of the Constitution.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019 became the first legislation to be tabled in Parliament by the Narendra Modi dispensation in its second term, with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asserting the bill was a must for gender equality and justice.

The bill, which was passed by the LS last December but lapsed in the Rajya Sabha after the dissolution of the Lower House, seeks to replace an ordinance issued by the government in February. It was introduced after a division of votes, with 186 members supporting and 74 opposing it.

Seeking to justify the need to bring in the law, Prasad said there were 543 cases of triple talaq reported in the country. He said over 200 cases were reported after the Supreme Court's August 2017 ruling banning the practise.

Prasad said, "We have always said triple talaq is neither an issue of religion nor of prayer nor of any other communal consideration. It is a pure and simple issue of women's justice, dignity, and empowerment and we are committed to (safeguard) it." He added that the job of Parliament was to legislate and it was up to courts to interpret the law.

As soon as Speaker Om Birla asked Prasad to move the bill, several opposition members rose in protest and Birla allowed them to put forth their point of view.

Congress's Shashi Tharoor said he was opposed to triple talaq (instant divorce) but was against this bill as it conflates civil and criminal laws. He said it was a textbook example of class legislation as it was pointed at one community — Muslims — even though abandoning wives is not unique to it. Tharoor said there should be a law universally applicable to all in case of abandoning wives.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi took a dig at the BJP, saying it has so much affection for Muslim women but is opposed to rights of Hindu women to enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The bill violates constitutional rights as it stipulates three-year jail term for guilty Muslim men while non-Muslim men get only one year of jail term for a similar offence, he said. N K Premchandran of the RSP also opposed the bill.

No. of cases reported since August 2017

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