Govt introduces triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Lok Sabha, calling it a "historic day".

Several non-BJP parties, however, objected to the introduction of the Bill, saying a provision made in the proposed legislation for an award of three-year imprisonment to Muslim men, in case of instant triple talaq, would eventually go against the interests of women facing desertion.

Members of the RJD, AIMIM, All India Muslim League, BJD and the AIDMK opposed the Bill in the Lok Sabha. Members of the Congress and Left parties also wanted to speak on the Bill.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, refused to allow them citing rules. She said only those members were permitted to speak on the topic who had given a prior notice for it.

"The bill, if passed, will be an injustice to Muslim women," AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said in the Lok Sabha.

He objected to a provision in the Bill which seeks to make the pronouncement of triple "talaq" a non-bailable criminal offence, with a provision for three-year imprisonment to the accused on conviction by a court.

"I will be put in jail. This is arbitrariness. How will a person pay (subsistence) allowances from jail," he asked.

Owaisi also sought to know if Parliament had the "legislative competence" to pass the Bill, which seeks to violate "the fundamental rights".

Prasad, however, rejected the Opposition's arguments.

"The Bill is about justice and respect for women and is not about any religion or community. The practice of instant triple has continued despite the Supreme Court order terming it void. Parliament has powers to enact this law. Today, the House has to decide as to whether aggrieved Muslim women have any fundamental right or not," he said.

Objecting to the introduction of the Bill, BJD member B Mehtab said that some of the provisions made in the proposed legislation by the government was the result of "gross misreading" of the August judgement of the Supreme Court.

"How can oral pronouncement of talaq be made an offence under non-bailable sections. The Bill is riddled with contradictions. The anxiety (of the government) to bring the Bill is actually doing disservice to Muslim women," he said.

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