The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 seeking to criminalise instant divorce, triple talaq, is set to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The Bill, last week, was passed in the Lok Sabha with most of the leading parties in the Opposition, including the Congress, voting in favour, but with caveats. It was passed after the House rejected a string of amendments moved by various Opposition members. The Centre termed the voting as “historic” and expressed confidence that it would be passed in Rajya Sabha as well. The contentious bill had gathered mixed response from all parties when it was introduced in the the lower house. While Congress extended its support, it also suggested that there were certain lacunae in the Bill that needed to be rectified before being brought into force. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi opposed the Bill saying that it would violate the fundamental rights of Muslims. All the amendments moved by Owaisi, Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) Bhartruhari Mahtab, the Congress’ Sushmita Dev and the Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) A. Sampath were negated in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. If the Bill gets a green signal in the upper house as well, it will be forwarded to the President for signing it into a law. In light of the ruling alliance lacking a majority in the Rajya Sabha, there are possibilities of the Bill getting stalled, as Congress, the leading opposition party has objected to the imprisonment and maintenance clauses of the Bill, and therefore may press for the Bill to be sent to the standing committee or a select committee to remove objectionable clauses.
However, the BJP is hopeful the Bill will get clearance. “I have complete conviction that Congress will support the Bill the same way it did in Lok Sabha, or else the minority women will not spare them,” Union Minister Giriraj Singh told ANI on Monday. Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar echoed the same conviction. “I believe all our office-bearers will talk to all parties, and all parties will understand the problem faced by our aggrieved sisters. This bill, I believe, will be passed in the Rajya Sabha,” he said.
The Bill, if enacted, will make triple talaq a criminal offense. It proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife in any form of spoken, written or by electronic means such as email, SMS, and WhatsApp. (ANI)