27/12/2018 3:52 PM IST | Updated 27/12/2018 3:54 PM IST

Triple Talaq Bill: Govt Calls It 'Justice For Women', Oppn Says It's Unconstitutional

The Opposition demanded that the bill be sent to a joint select committee.

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The Lok Sabha took up the triple talaq bill — which seeks imprisonment for Muslim men who are accused of instant divorce — to debate on Thursday. The Opposition demanded that the bill be sent to a joint select committee. 

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the bill was not about politics but empowerment and justice for women. With respect to the Opposition’s demand, Prasad said the government had already taken a note of concerns expressed by members earlier and amended the bill accordingly.

Prasad told the Lok Sabha that the bill had made the offence compoundable, meaning that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise, and that only the wife and her close relatives can file an FIR, ruling out the law’s misuse.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 humanity and justice,” he said, urging lawmakers of different parties to speak in one voice to support the legislation.

Prasad also pointed out that 20 Islamic nations have banned triple talaq. “Why can’t a secular nation like India?” he asked.

BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi said the issue it was about “human rights violations”. “Would like to ask those opposing the bill that in which suraa of the holy Quran is talaq-e-biddat mentioned? This is not He vs She, these are issues of human rights violation,” she added.

 She also slammed the Congress, saying Congress could have passed the bill 30 years ago, but they prefer to practice the politics of division. 

Opposition demands bill be referred to joint select committee

A united opposition in the Lok Sabha pitched for referring the triple talaq bill to a ‘joint select committee’ of Parliament, claiming its provisions were unconstitutional and that there was a need for a greater scrutiny of the draft law.

As soon as the House met at 2 pm after an adjournment to take up the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that it be referred to a joint select committee of the two 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.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said a similar bill was discussed and passed by the Lok Sabha. Therefore, members can flag issues during the debate.

She said all of a sudden a demand cannot be made to send it to a committee.

 (With PTI inputs)

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