A bill to make instant triple talaq illegal and void and awarding a jail term of three years for the husband, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday afternoon.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, calling it a “historic day”.
Members of several parties including RJD, AIMIM, BJD and All India Muslim League attempted to oppose the introduction of the bill.
The law is about justice and respect for women and is not about any religion or community, said the Law Minister. He also added that the practice of instant talaq has continued despite the Supreme Court order terming it void.
Parliament has to decide whether the victims of triple talaq have fundamental rights or not, Prasad said after some opposition members claimed it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ and give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children. The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue, the minster explained.
According to the bill, instant triple talaq in any form – spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp – would be illegal and would attract a jail term of three years and a fine. It would be a non-bailable offence.
The proposed bill if passed, will be applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting called for a consensus in the passage of the bill. PM’s comments came hours before the Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the prime minister appealed for a consensus in passage of the ‘Muslim women Protection of Rights on Marriage’ Bill.
Kumar added the Bill seeks to provide gender justice, respect and security to Muslim women.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad briefed BJP members on the various aspects and provisions of the draft law.
Kumar said today is a “historic day” as the government headed by Modi is bringing in the bill which is a major reform initiative.
Responding to a question on consensus on the legislation in Rajya Sabha where the opposition has an upper hand, Kumar said after its passage in Lok Sabha, the government will initiate the process of evolving a consensus in the upper house. He said the process, in fact has already begun.
Sources in the government had said earlier that Prasad is already in touch with leaders of the TMC, the BJD and other parties seeking their help in the passage of the law.
(With inputs from agencies)