Lok Sabha Passes Triple Talaq Bill Amid Opposition Walkout
The bill to make triple talaq or instant divorce among Muslims a criminal offence was passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday. The bill was pushed through by the NDA in Lok Sabha with a large margin of 245-11 votes, but the ruling coalition now faces the difficulty of getting it passed in the Rajya Sabha where it is a minority.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court declared the practice of triple talaq unconstitutional and asked Parliament to bring in legislation governing Muslim marriages and divorce. An earlier version of the bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 28 December 2017. An ordinance to that effect was enacted in September.
The bill relaxed some of the demanding provisions of the legislation cleared by the house in 2017 which was stuck in Rajya Sabha thereafter. The opposition parties staged a walkout disagreeing with the criminality clause and claimed that some of the provisions of the bill are unconstitutional.
Union law minister Ravi Shankar questioned the opposition saying “We do not understand the contradiction that everyone in the House agrees that triple talaq s wrong, but they ask why we are bringing this bill. Even in dowry prohibition law, there is jail and punishment. Why did people not raise these issues then?” The minister said, “the bill was not against any community, religion or belief but for humanity and justice for women”.
Congress MP Sushmita Dev, head of women’s wing in Congress demanded that the bill is sent to a joint select committee. The opposition questioned the hurry of BJP to get the bill passed as BJP is trying to place it as a key tool for empowering Muslim women, this bill is politically significant ahead if 2019 general elections.