New Delhi: Several Islamic nations have regulated triple talaq and India should take a step in this direction, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday.
Moving the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill for passage in the Lok Sabha, he urged the members to pass the measure, saying the bill should not be linked to or seen through the prism of any religion or politics.
"We are going to create history. Today is the day to create history," Prasad said, adding, "I appeal to this House and the biggest panchayat that please do not see this bill from the prism of politics," he said, adding it should neither be confined within the walls of political parties, nor should it be looked as vote bank politics.
He said that Muslim women were victimised by instant triple talaq. On 22 August, the Supreme Court passed a judgment saying it was unconstitutional and arbitrary.
He said that judiciary in various judgments has conveyed its concerns from time to time on this issue.
"We were expecting that after this judgment, triple talaq cases would come down and the situation would improve...about 300 triple talaq cases happened in 2017 and 100 were reported after the Supreme Court's judgment.
"Several countries particularly Islamic nations including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia and Tunisia have regulated this. See where Islamic nations have reached and see where we are," he asked.
Prasad said triple talaq practice has inflicted atrocities on Muslim women, "do we close our eyes and keep quiet".
"We do not want to interfere in Sharia. This bill is on talaq-e-biddat," he said, adding, "The issue is not of religion, faith, puja, the issue is gender justice, equality and dignity". He insisted the government did not intend to politicise the issue and the legislation was brought after taking a humanitarian view of it.
"If it is a crime to bring a bill in the favour of Muslims then we will commit this crime 10 times," he asserted.
Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that the bill should be referred to standing committee. "We are all for this bill but there are certain flaws and difficulties in this," he said.
He also said that no consultations were held on this bill and there are some lacunae in it which can be rectified by sitting together and the only forum for that is the standing committee.
In the interest of the country and Muslim women, the bill should be referred to the committee for elaborate consultation and time can be fixed for that. "Why you are in so hurry to give empowerment," Kharge asked.
To this, Prasad said the law was in the interest of the country and this is a small bill.
Initiating the discussion, Sushmita Dev (Congress) said that triple talaq was a regressive practice but there were apprehensions about its misuse against Muslim men as has happened in the marital rape law.
Since there is imprisonment clause in the Bill, the maintenance would be in jeopardy, she said.
To ensure that maintenance is meted out to the sufferer, is the government considering to build a corpus to provide maintenance to divorced women as the husband would have to face a jail term up to 3 years, she asked.
Dev wondered if the government was talking about women's empowerment, why was it delaying women reservation bill.
Supporting the passage, Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) said triple talaq was becoming a social evil and it is a time to firmly deal with this kind of practice.
Opposing the provision of criminality clause, A Anwar Raja (AIADMK) said the Supreme Court had not put the provision of imprisonment.
He expressed apprehension that it was not a social reform but provisions of this Bill is not going to help women but put them under penury.
He also alleged that this government is pursuing communal agenda and it seems that it wants to eliminate identity of Muslim in the country.
Echoing similar views, Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said, "we support the Bill but not the way it is intended to be applied on the ground."
The party was not in favour of the criminality aspect of the Bill, he said expressing apprehension that the resultant thing could be brutal like misuse of Defamation Act.
He also demanded that this should be thoroughly discussed and all aspects need to be looked into.
A Sampath (CPI-M) also demanded the Bill need to be referred to Standing Committee. "As you are saying it is very important Bill, historic Bill. It is therefore important to be referred to the Standing Committee," he said.
Pointing that the quantum of fine is missing, he said it comes under civil suit and there is no provision for criminality in this.
Updated Date: Dec 29, 2017 08:29 AM