NEW DELHI Lok Sabha on Thursday passes the contentious Triple Talaq Bill, banning the practice of instant triple talaq. Several amendments moved by the Opposition were defeated.
The clause in the bill which criminalises the practice with a jail term of upto three years for the husband was passed by a division of 302 in favour and 78 against.
The Bill will now be tabled in Rajya Sabha, where the opposition is numerically higher than the ruling side.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Triple Talaq is practiced only in one community, therefore, a law banning this practice cannot be applied for any other community.
Earlier during the day, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill, saying the law was a must for gender equality and justice and despite the Supreme Court striking down the practice as illegal and unconstitutional, several hundred cases have been reported.
Replying to the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha, he questioned the opposition to up to three-year jail term for the husband who gives instant triple talaq.
“When Hindus and Muslims are jailed under dowry law or Domestic Violence Act, no one objects. What is the objection in penalising the practice,” he said.
Several opposition parties bitterly opposed the legislation, but the government asserted that the bill is a step towards gender equality and justice. Parties like the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the DMK demanded that it be sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. Some of the BJP’s allies, including the JD(U), also expressed their reservation about the bill.
Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
Earlier, Prasad said to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial.
While the bill makes triple talaq a “non-bailable” offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.
In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself.
A provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail “after hearing the wife”, the minister said.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year but lapsed in the Rajya Sabha after the dissolution of the Lower House. The current bill seeks to replace an ordinance for the same which was issued by the cabinet last February.