New Delhi, Jun 21
The Government introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) -- popularly known as the Triple Talaq Bill -- in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
The Opposition benches led by the Congress rose to oppose the introduction of the Bill. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called the Bill ‘discriminatory’ while the Congress said the Bill ‘doesn’t empower’ women.
Congress MP from Kerala, Shashi Tharoor was the first from Congress to object to the provision of the Bill.
Tharoor asked the Government to bring a universally applicable law for abandonment of family instead and not target a specific community, “the Bill violates Constitution as it targets a class or community”, Tharoor said, adding, “Instead of protecting Muslim women, what it does, it punishes the Muslim man.”
Objecting to the penal provision in the Bill for the Muslim man who engages in Triple Talaq, AIMIM’s Owaisi asked, “Why put burden of proof on Muslim women ? Who will pay the maintenance if the Muslim man is jailed for 3 years ? Will you ?
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad however, rejected Opposition arguments and said “It is the work of Parliament to enact a law. The interpretation of the law should be left to the Courts.”
Earlier, on June 12, the Union Cabinet approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, paving the way for the legislation to be introduced in Parliament.
Doing away with Triple Talaq -- where a Muslim woman can be divorced almost instantly has been one of the key poll promises of the Modi Government. The Bill, once passed, would put a curb on the practice of Talaq-e-Biddat, or instant Triple Talaq. It proposes to make the offence cognizable.
To build consensus, the Government had called a meeting of political party leaders on June 19, to discuss the agenda for the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha.
The Opposition’s main problem lies with the penal provision of three years for a Muslim man practising Triple Talaq. The Bill also says the accused can get bail only from the Magistrate before the trial starts, provided his wife concurs.
Opposition parties led by the Congress have objected to a jail term in the law and are also seeking State compensation for the deserted wife and her children. The proposed law directs the husband to provide maintenance for the wife and her children.