Triple Talaq bill passed in Lok Sabha

Muriel Hammond
December 31, 2017

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which was one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court on the issue of talaq-e- biddat, said that Lok Sabha proceedings indicate that Muslim women's voices have been heard across the political spectrum.

The new direction of policy is reflected also in the attitude towards the instant triple talaq issue, which has become a touchstone of Muslim sensibility.

Addressing the House after discussions on the Bill, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "This is a historic day".

A source in the Congress told ThePrint that the party will try to refer the matter to a select committee for legislative scrutiny when the bill is introduced in the Rajya Sabha next week.

The only point on which the Opposition showed a semblance of unity was in its demand for sending the Bill to a standing committee for wider consultation.

The letter said that if the government fails to pass the bill in favour of Muslim women, it should implement the Special Marriage Act to the adherents of all religion including Islam.

The much expected Triple Talaq Bill will be introduced in Rajya Sabha next week. In its old avatar, it would have perhaps gone with the mullahs but this time around, it is caught on the horns of a dilemma and its spokesperson Randeep Surjewala has announced that the Congress supports the law of banning instant triple talaq but qualified it by saying that it believes that "there is a need to strengthen this law".

Prasad said 300 instances of triple talaq have come to light in 2017 itself, including 100 after the Supreme Court order. Also, the existing law wants the woman to approach the court in case of divorce when the man can just do the Tripla talaq.

Another former Congress minister Kapil Sibal's decision to defend triple talaq on behalf of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in the Supreme Court on grounds that "it is an age-old tradition and could not be considered unconstitutional" has not gone down well with the party bigwigs. "Will the government create a corpus to provide maintenance to divorced women waiting for compensation?" The Bill effectively criminalises talaq-e-biddat, or instant triple talaq from a Muslim husband to his wife, whether granted orally, or via a written text on WhatsApp, SMS or email, among other forms. He also took a dig at Modi.

Advocate Chandra Rajan who had represented All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB), while welcoming the triple talaq bill, had a peeve over a deeper question that is yet to be answered by our political class. "Amendments keep on happening in the law but the start has been made", she said.

Similarly, AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, one of the staunchest opponents of the Bill, pointed out that the Bill is riddled with inconsistencies and loopholes, which are targeted legal discrimination of Muslim men, and thereby putting Muslim women in jeopardy.

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