The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the amended Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, which criminalises Triple Talaq, after over four hours of debate even as Congress and AIADMK MPs staged a walkout. The bill was passed with 238 MPs voting in its favour and 12 opposing it.
The bill, which will now go to the Rajya Sabha, proposes that instant Triple Talaq will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. It also has a provision that only empowers a magistrate and not a local police officer to release the husband on bail. The proposed law would be applicable to the entire country, except in Jammu and Kashmir.
As soon as the Triple talaq Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Congress Leader in the House Mallikarjun Kharge demanded it be referred to a joint select committee of both Houses for greater scrutiny. He said several provisions of the bill were “unconstitutional”.
AIADMK leader P Venugopal, TMC’s Sudip Bandhopadhyay, AIMIM’s Assaduddin Owaisi and Supriya Sule (NCP) also made similar demands.
While introducing the Bill, Prasad said the government had already taken note of concerns expressed by members earlier and amended the bill accordingly. Prasad further said a case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise, and that only the wife and her close relatives can file an FIR, ruling out the law’s misuse.
“Don’t weigh the bill on the scales of politics. The bill is about Insaaniyat aur insaaf (humanity and justice),” he said, urging lawmakers of different parties to speak in one voice to support the legislation.
The fresh bill will supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha. The earlier bill, which was formulated after the Supreme Court declared Triple Talaq unconstitutional last year, was approved by the Lower House.
However, amid opposition by some parties in the Upper House, the government cleared some amendments, including the introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable. As the bill continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September, incorporating the amendments.