Even as the opposition parties have indicated that the contentious triple talaaq bill cannot be taken up in the Rajya Sabha without discussion – the Union Law minister on Monday attacked the Congress for blocking the passage of the bill stating that the senior BJP leaders met the Congress on multiple occasions to build consensus on the bill.
“Parliamentary affairs minister Anant Kumar and I, met the Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma after due political approval. I must have pursued (the issue related to triple talaaq bill) with Anand Sharma at least five times. We presumed that they will support (the bill). But they did not. This shows that they were not only ambiguous but also hypocritical,” Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Indian Express.
Union law minister Prasad’s comment came in the backdrop of the Congress leader Anand Sharma’s comment on Congress stand on the triple talaaq bill. “…But building consensus on the Bill is not the job of the principle Opposition party….There were certain infirmities on criminalisation and the extent and misuse where we had informed the government earlier. And they say they have addressed them, but nobody has read how much the concerns have been addressed. So you need to read them before you discuss and legislate. Today was the last day of Parliament. It was not correct to bring it on a private members’ day – and considered… taken up, the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die. One has to read it very clearly. They are using it to create a binary. They are not sincere themselves,” Sharma had earlier told the Indian Express.
Prasad pointed out that “there is nothing left for consideration” to discuss the clauses of the bill with the Congress – and said that the Congress party is blocking the bill to appease the “deeply conservative element of the Muslim society, who have deprived the woman in the community “From January, 2017 till 23 July, 2018 – 390 cases of triple talaq have reported. More importantly, 160 have been reported after the Supreme Court judgment. The SC has asked to keep the political gains apart. This very sane of advice of the SC is not being followed by the Congress. After the amendments, there was nothing left for consideration. All the contents were explained to them. Yet, the Congress has become the stumbling block. The Congress party is solely guided by the deeply conservative element of the Muslim society, who have deprived the woman folk till now,” Prasad said.
Prasad also said that demand by certain Muslim groups to send it to the select committee “is a delaying tactic”. “Sending it to the select committee is just a delaying tactic. I have asked the parties in the parliament to express their concerns. It just a four clause law. Therefore, under the garb of select committee, you want to delay and continue the deprivation of Muslim woman,” Prasad said.
On the contentious clause that the offence continuous to remain non-bailabe, however, bail can be granted by a magistrate after hearing to the wife, Prasad said : “Deterrent is important to stopping the crime. The argument is if the husband goes to jail he wont be able to fulfill the obligation. In the present dowry prevention act, the son in law can be jailed. Has any one complained as to who will take care of the family ? Similarly, on the domestic violence act, no has raised a similar issue. Laws like this gender and religion neutral. In spite of the SC calling it a sin, we need to have some degree of deterrence. That is why we have provisions, where magistrate can grant bail after hearing out the wife and also compounding after hearing the version of the wife.”
Twenty-four hours after the Cabinet cleared amendments to The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 — popularly known as the triple talaq Bill — the government had attempted to push through the Bill in Rajya Sabha on the the last day of the monsoon session. However, it could not be taken up for consideration and passage because of lack of consensus among parties