Lok Sabha approves law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence

Dec 31, 2017, 00:56
Lok Sabha approves law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence

The Lok Sabha on Thursday signed off on a law which criminalizes the practice of instant triple talaq.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, chided them, saying they should follow parliamentary procedures and give prior notice to air their disagreement with the bill's introduction.

Prasad said triple talaq practice has inflicted atrocities on Muslim women, "do we close our eyes and keep quiet".

Countering the Opposition parties' demand for wider consultation, the Law Minister said this Bill will ensure the spirit of the Supreme Court verdict. But the Opposition parties did not rally together at the time the Bill was taken up for voting at the end of the discussion.

Conspicuously, none from the Trinamool Congress participated in the discussion. Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton F. Nariman and U.U. Lalit ruled for scrapping the practice; the minority judgement by then chief justice J.S. Khehar and justice S. Abdul Nazeer upheld the validity of the practice and wanted Parliament to bring in legislation governing Muslim marriages and divorce within six months. "While the Bill talks only about Muslim women being abandoned, the Government should also worry about almost 20 lakh women of various religions who are abandoned by their husbands, "including our bhabhi from Gujarat", he said, making a veiled reference to Prime Minister's wife Jashodaben". He said that practice of Triple Talaq continued although the All India Muslim Personal Law Board had committed to the Supreme Court that it would issue an advisory against it.

Members said the government needed to dispel the perception of harbouring "ulterior motives" in pushing through the Bill. To this, Prasad said the law was in the interest of the country and this is a small Bill.

"This Bill, once turned into a law, would act as a deterrent (against practice of triple talaq)" Prasad said, dismissing the allegation by some opposition MPs that the government was pushing through the Bill to reap political dividends out of it. He said that the Triple Talaq had so far been misused by Muslim men to intimidate women.

Is the law may be misused?

Responding to the debate, Prasad countered the Opposition's objections.

Bebaak Collective - another Muslim women's group which had intervened in the apex court case in support of the plea to outlaw instant triple talaq - on the other hand, called it a "black day" for Muslim women and Indian democracy. Congress acknowledged the need for a law (on instant triple talaq). All kinds of instant triple talaq - spoken, in writing or by electronic means, such email, text message or WhatsApp - would be illegal and void.

Opposing the provision of criminality clause, A Anwar Raja (AIADMK) said the Supreme Court had not put the provision of imprisonment. "Women of other communities have enjoyed legal protection but Muslim women have suffered; in this regard, we welcome the bill". "We want police and courts to give justice to these women", he said. Recalling an anecdote of the Nehruivan era, Akbar said the country's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had during a conversation revealed that he could not reform the Muslim Personal Law because the time was not appropriate. "We do not want to interfere in the Sharia".