Rajya Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 by 99 votes in favour and 84 against it. With this, the practise of instant divorce by Muslim men will be punishable by a jail term of up to three years.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha last week.
Rajya Sabha earlier rejected an opposition sponsored motion to send the bill to a Rajya Sabha Select Committee with 100 votes against it as compared to 84 in favour.
While BJD supported the legislation, JD-U and AIADMK walked out, lowering the majority mark which normally stands at 121. The ruling NDA has 107 members in the 242-member Rajya Sabha.
Once granted assent by the President, the bill will replace an ordinance promulgated last on February 21 to the same effect as the bill.
Replying to a four-and-half-hour debate on the Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad cited jail provisions in the legislation that ban dowry and multiple marriages by Hindu men to justify the three-year jail term for Muslim men practices triple talaq.
He said he cannot leave in lurch women who have been divorced by triple talaq via WhatsApp or other such means.
When the Muslim world is trying to reform, why can’t a democracy do the same, he said.
Trying to shed anti-Muslim image, he said his party gave the nation a President from the same community.
On opposition charge of targeting Muslims, he said BJP may be getting a little less votes from the community but it considers them very much a part of the country and works on the principle of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’.
Prasad said the bill should not be seen through a political prism as it is a matter of humanity, woman empowerment and gender equality.
“More than 20 Islamic nations have regulated triple talaq,” he said.
The Triple Talaq bill could not make it through the Upper House earlier this year during the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, although it was passed by Lok Sabha.
The Bill was again passed by the Lok Sabha last week amid a walkout by several opposition parties including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress.