New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday made a strong plea for the passage of triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha, saying it should not be seen from the prism of politics as it aims to empower Muslim women, but the opposition insisted that it should go to a joint select committee.
Moving the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 for passage, after objections to it being taken up were rejected, Prasad said that instant triple talaq cases must be stopped and there is a need of a law.
“Between January 2018 and December 10, around 477 cases of triple talaq have surfaced. Even yesterday (Wednesday), such a case from Hyderabad came to our knowledge. That is why we brought an ordinance,” he said.
Noting that 20 Islamic countries had banned the practice of triple talaq, the Minister asked why a secular nation like India should not have the requisite legislation.
“I request that this should not be looked through the prism of politics. This House made provisions for hanging rapists. The same House passed bills against dowry and domestic violence to protect the rights of women. So, why can’t we speak in one voice on this Bill?” he said, urging the House to pass the Bill unanimously.
Prasad said the government works with “an open mind”, does not have any bias and has addressed many of the concerns raised earlier with regard to the new bill.
“Do not look at it from the prism of politics but from that of humanity. If there is a concrete suggestion, the government is willing to consider it,” he said, adding that the bill should not be opposed for political reasons.
The Lok Saba had passed the triple talaq bill last December but it has not been passed by the Rajya Sabha. The new Bill, with certain safeguards, was introduced amid din in the Lok Sabha earlier this month. The 2017 Bill has been listed for withdrawal.
The new bill seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated in September prohibiting divorce by pronouncing “talaq” by their husbands. It makes declaration of instant triple talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine. The offence will be cognizable if information relating to the offence is given by the married woman against whom talaq has been pronounced or any person related to her by blood or marriage.
Earlier, opposition members including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, TMC’s Sudip Bandopadhyay, AIADMK’s P. Veugopal, AIMIM’s Asaddudin Owaisi, NCP’s Supriya Sule, RSP’s N.K. Premchandra and AAP’s Bhagwant Mann protested against moving the Bill for passage and said it should be sent to a joint select committee.
“It’s an important bill and needs a detailed study. It is also a constitutional matter. It is also related to a specific religion. I request this Bill must be referred to the select committee,” Kharge said.
Prasad opposed their contention and said the Congress had supported the triple talaq bill during its passage last year.
“When the Bill was brought earlier in the House, the Congress members supported and voted in its favour. They did not demand the Bill to be sent to select committee,” Prasad said.
Premachandra strongly opposed the bill, saying it is against the basic principles of Constitution.
“The bill has been brought in a hurry. It is politically motivated and has been brought in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
He questioned the right of government to bring the bill when a bill on the same issue is pending in the Rajya Sabha.