Lok Sabha passes bill criminalising Triple Talaq

Meenakshi Lekhi

True empowerment of Muslim women on the marriage front can happen only when the practice of polygamy is also done away with, they say.

Owaisi accused the government of having ulterior motives behind it pushing for a law which criminalises instant divorce among Muslims. "To make divorce in any form a criminal matter is unacceptable anywhere in the world".

However, commenting on the provision of allowance, Mr. Atul said that there is no contradiction in the bill. "Triple talaq is no institution or institutional fact of life, the Supreme Court has made it very clear", he said.

Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Congress in the House, and several other MPs of the opposition parties, demanded that it should be sent for vetting by a parliamentary standing committee. Thirdly, .we want to know when the husband is in jail, where will the woman get her maintenance and subsistence from.

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The Congress did not oppose the Bill, but pointed out certain loopholes in it and questioned the rationale of criminalizing the Triple Talaq, underlining that the practice had already been set aside by the Supreme Court on August 22. Congress MP Sushmita Dev said. This is what Muslim women activists, who fought the battle against triple talaq, feel.

A number of activists welcomed the government's move to ban the practice triple talaq as "a start".

Muslims are the biggest religious minority in Hindu-majority India and relations between the communities have sometimes been strained since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a 2014 election. "We have left the decision of jail term on the magistrate", Prasad said an apparent response to Owaisi's charge. Prasad called it a historic day.

The bill was tabled by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who added that the bill pertains to a woman's honour and has nothing to do with religion.

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In August, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional a law which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word "talaq", which means divorce in Arabic, three times. "Are not the basic rights of our sisters a part of the basic structure of Constitution".

The women, including those who waged the war against the practice in the Supreme Court, said with the passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the lower House, "a new beginning has been made" and it will prove to be a deterrent for the husbands from saying talaq-e-biddat to their wives.

"This slogan "Islam khatre mein hai" was used before independence to divide India and is now being used to divide society, poison is being spread".

However, Uzma Naheed of All India Muslim Personal Law Board believes that no one has really tried to study the sharia and as such there is no awareness of available options. "Who chose them to be community representatives?"

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There is also a provision of imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and fine for violators.

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