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8:47 pm - Thursday April 26, 2018

LS passes bill making instant triple Talaq a criminal offence

Agencies, New Delhi

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill providing for a prison term to a Muslim man who divorces his wife through instant “triple talaq’ practice which was declared illegal by the Supreme Court on August 22 this year.

At the end of nearly five-hour long debate, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed by the Lok Sabha, negating a number of amendments moved by the opposition members. Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMMM) pressed for division for his amendments which were negated by a huge margin.

Replying to the debate, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that utterance of “talaq’ thrice by a man was irrevocable and thus was made a criminal offence. “Though the offence is non-bailable by the police, a magistrate can grant bail.

Subsistence allowance can be given under Section 125 CrPc by a magistrate,’ he said. The bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha where the government is likely to face some stiff criticism.

Countering criticism of hurrying through the bill, Mr. Prasad said that Muslim women were being victimised and the legislation would bring them relief by freeing them of an atmosphere of fear. “Our Muslim sisters have liked the draft of the bill,’’ he added.

He said the legislation would put an end to the arbitrary practice of instant talaq which had caused misery and suffering to Muslim women. “If siding with poor and suffering Muslim women is a crime, our government will commit this crime time and again,’’ he said amid thumping of desks.

He said it was a “historic day’’ when the Lok Sabha was passing the bill. Mr. Prasad appealed to the members not (not) to see the bill through the prism of politics and party affiliations. He asserted that the NDA government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stood for progress and development of all segments of the society, including minorities.

“The Prime Minister had spoken to Karim-ul-Haq, a labourer in Jalpaiguri, who provided ambulance service on his motorcycle and honoured him with Padam Shri award. People like him are not Muslims alone, they are proud Indians,’’ he said.

As soon as the bill was passed, BJP patriarch L.K. Advani and Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders, ministers and members were seen congratulating him. Mr Dharmendra Yadav of the SP and Mr Jay Prakash Narain Yadav of the RJD opposed the present Bill, mainly on the ground that it criminalises an act that was civil in nature and did not happen at all going by section three of the Bill.

The RJD member said it would open flood gates of litigation and destroy so many families. Mr ET Mohammad Basheer of the Indian Union Muslim league alleged that the Government agenda was a uniform civil code.

‘’You are trying to create a myth that all men are cruel, which was not true’’. He said atrocities were happening on so many other sections of the society, but why the government was not coming out with laws in that respect.

Mr Dushyant Chautala of the INLD urged the government not to pass the Bill in haste so as to avoid multiple amendments in future. Mr Radheshyam Biswas of the AIUDF also opposed the bill mainly for making the triple talaq a criminal offence. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi and RSP Member NK Premchandran described the triple talaq bill as bad in law and bad in intent.

Mr Owaisi warned the Government that the proposed law would further alienate the Muslims community as it amounted to a beginning of imposition of uniform civil code.

Tearing through the government arguments in favour of the bill, they accused it of having an ulterior political motive in bringing in the law. They demanded the government take back the law and send it to the standing Committee. “It is an ill crafted law with ulterior political motives,’’ Mr Premchandran said.

The law was against jurisprudence and it might further alienate the Muslim community. Mr Premchandran also sought to demolish the Bill purely on legal ground too saying that it was against all norms of jurisprudence as it criminalises a matter which was civil in nature.

He and Mr Owaisi said it was self-contradictory as Section three of the Bill renders instantaneous talaq null and void, but section four provides a punishment of imprisonment up to three years for a talaq which going by Section three did not come into effect at all.

Mr Owaisi said the government was in fact doing a disservice to Muslims women through this Bill as there was no provision as to who would take care of their maintenance if the husband was jailed. However, the Bill was supported by Dr Arun Kumar of the RLSP and Mr Kaushlendra Kumar of the JD(U).

Mr Chandu Majra of the SAD also spoke on the issue. box Owaisi warns Govt over Triple Talaq law Describing the triple talaq bill as bad in law and bad in intent, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi and RSP Member NK Premchandran on Thursday warned the Government that the proposed law would further alienate the Muslims community as it amounted to a beginning of imposition of uniform civil code.

Tearing through the government arguments in favour of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Lok Sabha, they accused it of having an ulterior political motive in bringing in the law and demanded the government take it back and send it to the standing Committee.

Mr Owaisi said the government was taking one step ahead for imposing a uniform civil code and encroaching upon their personal laws. Mr Premchandran also urged the government to remove the apprehension of the Muslim Community that it was trying to impose the code through back door.

‘’It is an ill crafted law with ulterior political motives,’’ Mr Premchandran said. The law was against jurisprudence and it might further alienate the Muslim community, he added.

The RSP Member also sought to demolish the Bill purely on legal ground too saying that it was against all norms of jurisprudence as it criminalises a matter which was civil in nature.

They said it was self-contradictory as Section three of the Bill renders instantaneous talaq null and void, but section four provides a punishment of imprisonment up to three years for a talaq which going by Section three did not come into effect at all.

Mr Owaisi said triple talaq was a verbal emotional abuse which could be dealt with under the domestic violence law. He wanted to know whether law had been able to check child marriage and divorce which were happening in lakhs among non-Muslims.

Govt brought the Bill in hurry: Cong Describing the Triple Talaq legislation, passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday as one brought by the government in haste, the Congress today said the Bill should be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Talking to reporters here after the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, AICC Spokesperson Sushmita Deb said, ‘It seems that government is in hurry. The Supreme Court banned Triple Talaq because it believed that a couple should get time for reconciliation.

With this Bill, the offence will be now a non-bailable offence, so there will be no chance of reconciliation.’ She said the Bill did not make any provision for compensation for a woman, in case her husband was jailed.

‘I moved an amendment over compensation for Muslim women from government, but it was negated,’ Ms Deb said. Charging the government of passing the Bill in a hurry in the Lok Sabha, she hoped that Congress would get a chance to discuss the contentious issues, when it comes up in the Rajya Sabha.

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