Triple Talaq bill passes Rajya Sabha test: 10 points
The contentious Triple Talaq bill, which criminalises instant divorce by Muslim men and seeks jail term for the guilty, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The BJP and the Congress had issued whips to their MPs, asking them to ensure their presence. Several opposition parties strongly opposed it but the government has asserted that the bill is a step towards gender equality and justice. Parties such as the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the DMK demanded that it be sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Opposition forced to vote against triple talaq bill. Azad is the leader of the opposition in the upper House of Indian parliament. “Opposition is all for empowerment of women but we wanted some modifications to this bill brought by the government. This is why we moved a resolution to send bill to select committee. But the ruling party rejected the resolution,” he said.
Here are 10 updates on the Triple Talaq bill:
1) The bill was already been passed by the Lok Sabha by a voice vote amidst a walkout by Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK and others on July 25. The Bill was passed with 302 votes in favour and 82 against in a division.
2) The bill makes the practice of instant “triple talaq’ illegal and punishable with up to three years in jail for the husband. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019, popularly known as the “triple talaq” bill will now have to clear the Rajya Sabha hurdle before it can become a law.
3) Before the bill was passed, the triple talaq ban was being enforced through an ordinance since a bill similar to the present one couldn’t be passed in the Rajya Sabha during the tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Watch: Ravi Shankar Prasad on why Triple Talaq Bill is needed
4) Unlike the Lok Sabha, where the BJP-led NDA enjoys strong majority, the ruling alliance faced an uphill task in Rajya Sabha where opposition parties have numerical advantage over the treasury benches.
5) The bill faced strong resistance not only from the opposition parties but also from many of the BJP’s allies, including the Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). Both the JD(U) and the AIADMK abstained from voting.
6) The Narendra Modi government had introduced a fresh bill— making “triple talaq” illegal, void and penal -- in June this year after its re-election in May 2019.
7) Initiating the debate on the Bill after placing it for consideration, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the law was necessary since the practice hadn’t stopped despite a two-year-old Supreme Court order declaring it illegal.
8) “574 cases of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ had been reported by the media since January 2017 and the law was needed to achieve gender equality and justice and shouldn’t be viewed from the narrow prism of religion,” Prasad said, while hitting out at the critics of the Bill.
9) The new Bill has safeguards such as the provision of bail for the accused before commencement of trial aimed to prevent possible misuse of the law.
10) The Opposition, during the debate, demanded removal of the penal provision calling it ‘discriminatory’ to the Muslim husband. Opposition parties also claimed that the 3-year jail term was not just disproportionate but was also counter-prouctive.