Triple Talaq bill: Opposition to meet to decide on stand in Rajya Sabha | india news | Hindustan Times
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Triple Talaq bill: Opposition to meet to decide on stand in Rajya Sabha

The proposed law, which stipulated up to three years of jail and a penalty for violators, was passed amidst concern from opposition members that it was criminalising what was essentially a civil procedure, and that it could be misused.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2018 07:38 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
BJP minority cell workers in Ranchi walk in support of the Triple Talaq bill which was passed from Lok Sabha on December 29, 2017.
BJP minority cell workers in Ranchi walk in support of the Triple Talaq bill which was passed from Lok Sabha on December 29, 2017. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

Opposition parties such as the Congress, DMK, Left and Trinamool Congress will go into a huddle on Tuesday morning to evolve a joint strategy on the bill to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq before it is introduced in Rajya Sabha.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed in the Lower House last week and is slated for passage in Rajya Sabha this week.

Even as several opposition parties had demanded amendments and sought a review by a standing committee of Parliament during the debate in Lok Sabha, the parties may recalibrate their positions before the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill comes to Rajya Sabha.

After the bill gets Rajya Sabha’s appropval, it will be forwarded to the President for signing it into law.

“We will take a collective decision after talking to other political parties,” a senior leader of the Congress party said.

sources added that many Opposition parties are not keen to refer the bill for standing committee’s scrutiny as it might send a wrong message that they are trying to delay the passage of the bill. Some parties may give notices for amendments to show that they want improvements in the bill.

Sources said that opposition parties may avoid taking an individual stance vis-à-vis the sensitive triple talaq bill fearing political isolation even in the Opposition quartets. The government has pitched the bill as a major step for women rights and empowerment.

The opposition parties in the Lok Sabha, however, had pointed out what they think as loopholes in the historic bill.

The proposed law, which stipulated up to three years of jail and a penalty for violators, was passed amidst concern from opposition members that it was criminalising what was essentially a civil procedure, and that it could be misused.

Some Muslim women’s groups have also raised concerns about “maintenance” if the husband is sent to jail.

The bill seeks to “ensure the larger constitutional goals of gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women and help sub-serve their fundamental rights of non-discrimination and empowerment”, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lower House.

The bill will only be applicable to instant triple talaq or “talaq-e-biddat” and gives power to a woman to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for her and her minor children. A woman can also seek the custody of her minor children.

Under the proposed law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp —is illegal and void.

Though the Congress supported the bill, it wanted the government to refer the proposed legislation to a parliamentary standing committee for wider consultations and broader consensus on the move.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and Indian Union Muslim League were among those that endorsed the Congress’ stand.

Talaq-e-biddat is banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia. Muslim men in India can still divorce using two other forms of talaq that have a three-month cooling off period.