Lok Sabha passes Muslim Women Bill 2017 instant triple talaq illegal & punishable offence
The Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill 2017 making instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband.The bill introduced in the Lok Sabha yesterday, was passed after the House rejected a string of amendments moved by various opposition members.
Replying to a debate on the bill, Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected opposition charge that the bill has been brought in a haste. He also ruled out any political motive behind the legislation.
Earlier moving the Bill, Mr Prasad had said the practice of triple talaq has been curbed and regulated even in many Islamic countries and a secular country like India will have to ensure justice to Muslim women.
While seeking the support of all parties for its passage, Mr Prasad said the bill should not be seen through an eye of religion, politics or vote bank.The Law minister said the government has to bring a bill because the practice of instant triple talaq has continued despite the Supreme Court order terming it illegal.
He said the proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ and give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking subsistence allowance for herself and minor children. The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children.
Participating in the debate, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said, the bill has been brought to end the fear among the Muslim women folk from the constant threat in the name of talaq.
He said, the spirit of Quran does not only give women their right but more than that. He also questioned the credibility of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, saying who have given them authority to speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill 2017 bill seeks to make instant triple talaq in any form spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp as bad or illegal and void.
According to the proposed law, giving instant talaq would attract the jail term of three years and a fine. It would be a non-bailable offence.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge while favouring the Bill said, enough time should be given to elicit public opinion on the subject and the Bill should be sent to standing committee to look into various aspects of the Bill.
Participating in the debate Sushmita Deb of Congress also urged that the Bill be sent to the Standing Committee of the House. She said the Bill has many lacunae which should be removed.
Ms Deb criticized the government for making civil offence a criminal act. She suggested a provision of corpus for providing maintenance to divorced Muslim women in case their husbands failed to give subsistence allowance.
Meenakshi Lekhi of BJP demanded codification of Sharia Law. She said Talaq-e-biddat is a customary practice which has nothing to do with any religion. Ms. Lekhi accused the opposition leaders of speaking the language of Personal Law Board.
She also made it clear that the proposed legislation is not against any existing law but it is an addition to them for the empowerment of Muslim women.
The bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for signing it into law