On Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed the bill making instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence. The bill states that instant triple talaq in spoken, written or by electronic means such as email, SMS and Whatsapp will be considered void. The ones accused will get a jail term of up to 3 years, fine and it will be a non bailable offence. The bill gives power to the victim to approach a Magistrate seeking subsidy allowance for herself and minor children. The victim can also seek the custody of her minor children.
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha even after a string of amendments from the President of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi and a member of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Bhartruhari Mahtab. The members from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD,) All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK,) All India Muslim League (AIML,) AIMIM and BJD opposed the bill.
The bill will be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage then forwarded to the President for signing it into a law. The Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “It is a historic day. We are making history today.” The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Government drafted the Legislation swiftly.
A member of the Indian National Congress (INC) Sushmita Dev said, “I moved an amendment over compensation for Muslim women in cases of triple talaq. It was negated by the Government.” The Congress showed their support for the bill demanding for strengthened safeguards for divorced Muslim women. They asked the bill to be sent to a Standing Committee instead of being decided on Thursday.
Asaduddin Owaisi said the Parliament lacks the legislative competence to pass the bill as it violates Fundamental Rights. He further added the bill only talks about Muslim women being abandoned but the Government forgets about nearly 20 lakh women of various religions being abandoned by their husbands “including our bhabi from Gujarat.”
Owaisi said, “The Union Law Minister has failed to discriminate between Civil Law and Criminal Law. Not a single Muslim country has a penal provision. Triple talaq is a form of verbal and emotional abuse.”
Owaisi further added,”Your dream of having more Muslims in jail will be achieved. Please send the Bill to the Standing Committee. You are forcing a Muslim woman to file an FIR against her husband. You are giving a handle to the Muslim man, who will have 90 days. If you are true to your intentions, create a corpus of 1,000 crores.”
The Triple Talaq bill’s prospects in the Rajya Sabha are uncertain as the BJP led Government lacks the majority and the Congress’ support for the bill is conditional.