Addressing the Congress’ Minority Department convention, Dev alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had created an atmosphere pitting Muslim women against Muslim men through the triple talaq law.
“A lot of people told us that women will be empowered if the triple talaq bill is passed. But we opposed that law because it is a weapon that Narendra Modi ji has prepared to put Muslim men in jail and make them stand in police stations,” the All India Mahila Congress chief said.
She hailed Muslim women from all parts of the country for writing “crores of letters, carrying out signature campaigns and rebelling against” the law.
“The Congress party stood up and opposed it in Parliament. I promise you people that the Congress government will come in 2019 and we will scrap this law. But it is also certain that whatever law is brought for women’s empowerment, by whichever government, the Congress will support it,” Dev said.
In December last year, a fresh bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in Lok Sabha to replace an ordinance issued in September.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 superseded an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The earlier bill was approved by the Lower House. Amid opposition by some parties in the Upper House, the government cleared some amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more palatable.
As the bill continued to face resistance in Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September, incorporating amendments.
The ordinance was re-promulgated recently as the first one was about to expire.
The government has maintained that despite the Supreme Court striking down the practice of talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq) as unconstitutional, men were divorcing their wives on flimsy grounds and even via WhatsApp.
The opposition has said divorce cannot be made a penal offence and the provisions of the bill are against basic principles of the Constitution.