#TripleTalaqBill – Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq Bill

Triple Talaq Bill
Triple Talaq Bill

Lok Sabha on Thursday, 25th July 2019 passed the Triple Talaq Bill (talaq-e-biddat) which penalizes the practice of instant talaq (divorce). Under The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 the bill makes instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddah) in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS, and WhatsApp illegal and void, with up to three years in jail for the husband. The current government pitched the bill as an effort to protect the rights of married Muslim women by banning the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering a single word “talaq” three times at one go.

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The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha, with 303 parliamentarians in favor whereas 82 MPs against it. With voting mostly in favor in Lok Sabha, the Janata Dal (JDU), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Congress MPs walked out from the House in protest against criminalizing the Triple talaq Bill. The Congress and other opposition parties demanded the bill be sent to the Standing Committee for review, saying it targets the Muslim community of the country.

The Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Since January 2017, there are 574 triple talaq cases and since the Supreme Court order, more than 300 such cases were reported by the media. There have been 345 cases of triple talaq after the judgment till July 24. Should we leave these women on roads?” He also added, “I am a minister in the Narendra Modi government, not the Rajiv Gandhi government.”

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He said, “the Supreme Court had noted that 20 Islamic countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia had outlawed Triple Talaq. And if they could do it, he asked, why it cannot be done in India which is a secular country?

In opposition, JDU MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh said, “The Bill will produce a different feeling in society because no one wants that there should be differences in the relationship between wife and husband.”

Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) said there are nine types of talaqs in Islam. Owaisi asked if the husband is jailed, as the bill proposes, then how will he be able to pay the maintenance to his wife while sitting in jail. He said, “You want to destroy the institution of marriage and bring the women on the road.” Owaisi also challenged the government to take all women MPs of BJP in a special aircraft to Sabrimala, if the government is concerned about the rights of women.

The use of triple talaq in India has been a subject of debate since long. Earlier on 22 August 2017, the Indian Supreme Court strike down the practice of instant triple talaq but still, Muslim women were being divorced. Back in 2017, the Modi Government formulated a bill called The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 and introduced it in the Parliament. The bill was finally passed by Lok Sabha on 27th December 2018 with strong support as the ruling BJP has the majority in the house of Lok Sabha or the Indian Parliament. But it was still left to be enacted as a law as it hasn’t been passed by the upper house or the Rajya Sabha.

The fresh bill was again presented (by BJP Government) in June in the house of Lok Sabha and with a strong majority, the government was successful in passing the bill again on the 25th July 2019. The bill will now go to Rajya Sabha.

UPDATE – On 30th July 2019 Rajya Sabha passed the Triple Talaq Bill banning the practice of instant divorce. The bill will now become a law after the assent of the President.

UPDATE – On 1st August 2019 President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill 2019 making it a law.

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