The Triple Talaq bill will be taken up by the Rajya Sabha today.
New Delhi: The revised bill to make instant Triple Talaq – the practice of Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives by uttering "Talaq" thrice — a punishable offence will be tabled for debate and passing in the Rajya Sabha today. The bill, passed by the Lok Sabha, faces the real test in the upper house of parliament where the government lacks the numbers. Contending that the bill targets the Muslim community, the opposition wants it go to a joint parliamentary committee for further scrutiny. The Congress said it won't allow the bill to be passed in its current form, and has made it mandatory for its lawmakers to attend today's session. Here are the Top Ten Points in this big story:
- The opposition is against the bill's provision for a three-year-jail term for the husband, arguing that a criminal angle cannot be introduced in a civil matter, especially when there is no punishment for desertion in any other religion. They also say there is no clarity on who would provide maintenance to the wife once the husband is in jail and argue that such hardline tactics cannot bring a family together.
- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 was revised after it got stalled by the Rajya Sabha, but the government has not incorporated the changes demanded by the opposition, especially on the penal clause.
- The revised bill makes "triple talaq" an offence with a jail term of up to three years and a fine for the husband, and makes the woman entitled to maintenance.
- The government's argument that the Supreme Court made Triple Talaq illegal and wanted parliament to pass a bill, has not convinced the opposition, including Naveen Patnaik's BJD and the AIADMK, which have sided with the government earlier on certain issues.
- The Congress has argued that the Supreme Court had not asked to make Triple Talaq a punishable offence. When the bill came up for passing in the Lok Sabha last week, the AIADMK had walked out along with the Congress.
- Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is piloting the bill, has said the issue involves the lives of thousands of women and should not be subject to politics. He also stressed that it was not against any particular community.
- Mr Prasad has said the bill will find support in the Rajya Sabha. Congress's KC Venugopal said 10 opposition parties have come out against the bill, which the party maintains, targets the Muslim community.
- BJP chief Amit Shah, who said the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha was a "historic step" towards ensuring equality and dignity of Muslim women, had demanded that the Congress apologise for "decades of injustice".
- In September, the government made instant Triple Talaq punishable through an ordinance or executive order. The proposed law is expected to replace the ordinance.
- In a landmark verdict in August last year, the Supreme Court found the practice of instant Triple Talaq un-Islamic and "arbitrary", and disagreed that it was an integral part of Islamic religious practice.