New Delhi: A Bill to make the practice of Triple Talaq a criminal offence and providing for a jail term to a Muslim man for the crime on Tuesday got the nod of Parliament with the Rajya Sabha approving it by a majority.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 , moved by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, was passed in the Rajya Sabha after a division in which 99 members supported the Bill while 84 members rejected it.
Earlier, the House rejected an amendment by the Opposition to send the Bill to a Select committee of the Upper House with 84 members voting it in favour and 100 rejecting it.
The House also rejected an opposition Motion to make the practice of Triple Talaq a civil offence rather than a criminal offence with 84 memebers voting in its favour and 100 voting against it.
With the approval of the Rajya Sabha, the Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, has received the nod of Parliament.The Bill replaces an Ordinance promulgated by the Cabinet.
Earlier, after the Amendments moved by opposition were rejected by the House, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that since the Government had not accepted the opposition plea to send the Bill to Select committee, it was forced to vote against it and called for a division on the Bill.
Replying to a debate on the Bill , Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad charged the Congress of being stuck in the same mode as witnessed during its stance in the Sahh Bano case.
He said the party should introspect why it did not get an absolute majority for nine Lok Sabha elections after 1984.
Mr Prasad assured the House that the Government intentions in bringing the Triple Talaq Bill, that seeks to make the practice of Triple Talaq a criminal offence, were right.''People are always willing to support a positive initiative if the intentions are right,''he said.
Charging the Congress Government under late Rajiv Gandhi of doing injustice to Muslim women in the Shah Bano case, he said,''after bringing such progressive Bill against dowry, why did you dither in the Shah Bano case. Why did you close the door of justice on Shah Bano and made dowry a non bailable offence.''
Claiming that the Congress had failed to move with the times and was still stuck with the same mindset as was witnesed in the Shah Bano case, he said,''you spoke a lot today Ghulam Nabi sa'ab. You won 400 seats in 1986. There have been 9 Lok Sabha elections after that, you did not get majority in any of them. Think why did that happen? You were 44 in 2014, 52 today.''
Responding to objections of Congress and other opposition parties on the criminalisation aspect of the Bill, he pointed out that similar laws were passed by the Congress earlier during its rule at the Centre.,
''When the Hindu Marriage Act was passed, a second marriage was not just declared void, but made a criminal offence. This was passed by the Congress government. Similarly, the practice of dowry was made a non-bailable offence,''he said.
On the Congress argument that Supreme court had already made Triple Talaq illegal and questioned the rationale of this law, Mr Prasad said,''this House does not need the mandate of the Supreme Court to pass a law.''
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.
It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.
It makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years' imprisonment with a fine. The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or any person related to her by blood or marriage.
The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused but only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
Under the Bill, the Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.(UNI)