Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad briefed the media about the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet in its meeting in Delhi on Wednesday. Among the decisions taken by the lawmakers, clearing of the second ordinance for Triple Talaq Bill was the most prominent.
Prasad said that there was a "compelling necessity" and "overpowering urgency " to come with an ordinance as the issue of triple talaq has nothing to do with faith or religion but instead, it is a matter of gender justice gender and gender equality — to which the Centre is committed. "Twenty-two Muslim countries have regulated triple talaq by various measures, but in a secular country like India, gender justice was given a complete go-by because of vote bank politics," Prasad said.
He appealed to women leaders of the Opposition like Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee to come forward and support the bill in Rajya Sabha, where it will now be tabled in the Winter Session. Prasad said that the Congress should keep aside politics from an issue that relates to humanity and help the government frame a law which will help Muslim women, who have suffered for a long time due to this practice. He said that he himself has personally approached the party five or six times to seek their cooperation on the matter.
Prasad read out the state-wise statistics of the number of triple talaq cases reported before and after the 2017 Supreme Court judgment which rendered it illegal and unconstitutional. He said that a total of 430 cases have been reported across India from January 2017 till 13 September, 2018, of which 229 were reported before the Supreme Court judgement, and 201 after the verdict. Uttar Pradesh recorded the largest number of triple talaq cases, he said, with 126 cases before the apex court's ruling and 120 being reported after it. "The curse of triple talaq continues unabated," Prasad remarked.
Prasad laid down the amendments made in the ordinance, in accordance with the Opposition's objections in the Parliament — raised when the first ordinance was introduced. He said that according to the latest ordinance, only the aggrieved woman herself or her family — by blood or marriage, can file a complaint of triple talaq against a Muslim man. However, the case will be compoundable if the wife agrees to a compromise or a settlement is done thereafter, with her consent. Further, only the magistrate will be able to grant a bail to the accused in such a case but, only after hearing the wife's plea. And in case of the couple's child's custody, a minor's custody will be given to the wife and she will also be entitled to alimony from the husband for herself and minor children, as ordered by the magistrate.
Apart from the triple talaq ordinance, Prasad informed the media about the other decisions taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday. He said that the government has allocated Rs 3,466 crore for rehabilitation and project management of 198 dams across the country. The government also plans to lay down a railway line from Indore to Budni railway for a cost of Rs 3,261.82 crore, Prasad added.
A gasification fertiliser project in the Talcher fertiliser factory is also in the pipeline. Prasad said that the prime minister has given his "blessings" to anganwadi and ASHA workers by increasing their monthly pay. An anganwadi worker will now get Rs 4,500 per month while those working in mini-anganwadi centres will get Rs 3,500. Moreover, anganwadi helpers will also now get an increased pay of Rs 2,250 per month and all-in-all, the Central government's move will benefit around 27 lakh anganwadi workers, Prasad told reporters.
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