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Posted at: Dec 28, 2018, 2:20 AM; last updated: Dec 28, 2018, 10:12 AM (IST)

Nod to amended triple talaq Bill in LS, Oppn walks out

Offence compoundable, wife and close relatives alone can file FIR
Nod to amended triple talaq Bill in LS, Oppn walks out

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 27

The Lok Sabha today cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, an amended version of the popularly called triple talaq Bill, criminalising the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ among Muslims with the provision of a three-year jail term for the husband.

A united Opposition saw it as “criminalising” the entire community.

After a heated debate, the Bill was passed with 245 votes in favour and 11 against, with the Congress, SP and AIADMK staging a walkout. It will now go to the Rajya Sabha for approval.

The BJP-led government asserted that the Bill should not be viewed from the prism of politics. It rejected the allegation that it was aimed at targeting a particular community. “It is all about insaaniyat aur insaaf,” insisted Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while moving the Bill. 

The RJD and AIMIM rejected it outright. The Congress demanded that the “unconstitutional” legislation be referred to a joint select committee of Parliament for greater scrutiny and for better sustenance of the aggrieved women. The demand was rejected, following which the Congress walked out.

Opposition leaders, including Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge, AIADMK leader P Venugopal, TMC’s Sudip Bandhopadhyay and AIMIM's Assaduddin Owaisi,  argued that the three-year jail provision virtually ruled out the scope of a rapprochement. The Bill violated Articles dealing with rights of individuals, they argued.

Congress’ Sushmita Dev said the real purpose was not to empower Muslim women but to “penalise” Muslim men and that criminalising triple talaq was against the Supreme Court verdict. 

Moving a statutory resolution opposing an ordinance (which the Bill seeks to replace), NK Premchandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party said the legislation was bad in law as it aimed to criminalise a “civil wrong”. 

Defending the legislation, Prasad argued that the accused husband would attract jail only if convicted.  He said 477 cases of triple talaq had been reported since January 2017.

The new Bill makes the offence compoundable, meaning that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise. To avoid its misuse, the aggrieved wife and her close blood relatives alone can file an FIR.

The earlier Bill too was approved by the Lower House. However, as it continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance, incorporating the amendments.

Aimed at giving justice: BJP

Do not look at the Bill from the prism of politics, but from that of humanity. It is aimed at giving justice, respect… The Opposition is creating hurdles in its passage due to vote bank politics. —Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law Minister

BJP wants to send Muslims to jail: AIMIM

While the SC is decriminalising adultery and same-sex relationships, the government is criminalising triple talaq because you want to send Muslims to jail. —Asaduddin Owaisi, Aimim Supremo

Violates Muslim personal law: Cong

The Bill is against the spirit of the Constitution and has violated several articles dealing with the rights of individuals… It is a divisive Bill and violates Muslim personal law and the right to equality. —Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha

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