Prasad urges Sonia, Mamata to support triple talaq bill

Prasad urges Sonia, Mamata to support triple talaq bill

Union Minister for IT and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad during a press conference on the achievements of his ministry in last four years, in New Delhi on Monday, June 18, 2018. PTI Photo

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today urged senior women leaders from opposition parties to "go beyond" the political divide for the passage of the bill on banning instant triple talaq stuck in Rajya Sabha.

But he skirted the question on whether the government will bring an ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence if a political consensus eludes the issue.

Responding to a question on the fate of the bill pending in the upper house since January, he said the government remains committed to enact the law.

"...I appeal to Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati, they are influential women, on the issue of triple talaq. We need to go beyond political divide," he told reporters at a press conference.

He said the bill is an issue of gender equality and gender justice for the government.

To a poser on why some women are opposing the bill, Prasad wondered whether the protests were genuine or "sponsored". He said several women he had met have supported the bill.

The bill, which makes instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for husband, was passed by Lok Sabha in December.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill gives power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children in the case of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat.

A victim can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate.

Under the proposed law, instant triple talaq in any form - spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp - would be illegal and void.

The bill could get stalled in Rajya Sabha where the government lacks a majority and it may be referred to a parliamentary committee for review.