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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

No lessons learnt, taunts Ravi Shankar Prasad after Cong protests triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad finally introduced bill after the ruling dispensation won the floor test by 186-74 votes amid protests from Opposition members of Congress and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2019 19:33 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad finally introduced The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill after the ruling dispensation won the floor test by 186-74 votes.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad finally introduced The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill after the ruling dispensation won the floor test by 186-74 votes.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
         

The second Narendra Modi government started its legislative innings with the controversial Triple Talaq bill in the Lok Sabha, even as the Opposition members vehemently protested and forced a rare division (voting) before its introduction which was done through paper ballots.

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad finally introduced The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill after the ruling dispensation won the floor test by 186-74 votes.

Opposition members of Congress and AIMIM leader Asauddin Owaisi mostly led the protest against the bill. Trinamool Congress MPs weren’t present during the voting. Senior Trinamool leader Saugata Ray indicated it was a conscious decision. “It’s a very sensitive issue and we did not want to be a part of it. Our stand is that the bill should be sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny,” he said.

WATCH | Opposition opposes Triple Talaq Bill tabled by govt in Lok Sabha

“This is not a question of religion but about justice to women. This is a question of dignity of women and we are committed to protect it,” Prasad said while introducing the bill. He also taunted the opposition for continuing to object to the bill, suggesting that he had expected the parties would have done some kind of a course correction after their humiliating defeat in the national elections.

The NDA government had promulgated two ordinances to enact the law after the original bill could not be cleared in the Rajya Sabha. The revised Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine. It, however, allows only the wife or her relatives to file the complaint against the husband.

The current bill also allows the magistrate to grant bail to the accused. There is also a scope of reconciliation.

Justifying the requirement of the bill, Prasad said that even after the Supreme Court judgment banned practising triple talaq, more than 200 cases have been reported.

But Congress leader Shashi Tharoor maintained that the triple talaq (instant divorce) bill conflates civil and criminal laws. According to Tharoor, the bill was a “textbook example of class legislation as it was pointed at one community, Muslims, even though abandoning wives is not unique to it.”

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi took potshots at the BJP saying that they were appeared to concern for Muslim women but it opposed Hindu women from entering the Sabrimala Temple in Kerala.

Owaisi pressed for a division which was accepted by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. As the House is yet to allot seat number to the MPs, the vote was taken by ballot papers. BJP floor managers such as Nishikant Dubey, SS Ahluwalia, parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi were running around telling the lawmakers how to vote. Similarly, Congress floor leader Adhir Chowdhury, its chief whip K Suresh and others were also busy ensuing that their MPs oppose the introduction of the bill.

Significantly, Trinamool Congress, the second largest Opposition party, was not present during the voting.

First Published: Jun 21, 2019 17:58 IST

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