The Congress party on Thursday maintained that the union government’s bill on triple talaq, if implemented sans amendments, could “harm” many families. “There are certain provisions in the bill that could harm families. This is what [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi ji wants. It is the mentality of Modi ji and ‘Sangh parivar’, because of which there have been efforts to insult Muslim community”, Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad told ANI. He continued, “Everyone wants the bill to not be rushed through. It is a very sensitive issue that should be thoroughly discussed. The Muslim Personal Law Board has objected to it, and Muslim women across the nation are protesting it”.
The Congress party has primarily objected to the imprisonment and maintenance clauses of the Bill. Yesterday, a pandemonium broke out in the Upper House soon after the bill was tabled by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Congress leader Anand Sharma moved the notice to refer the bill to a select committee of Rajya Sabha. He even proposed the names of committee members following which the Upper House witnessed a stormy session. “Since the BJP keeps trying to oppress and insult the Muslim community, everyone agreed that it should be sent to a select committee, and a decision should be arrived on after taking into consideration all groups’ interests,” Ahmad remarked.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 seeks to criminalise instant divorce, triple talaq. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with most of the leading parties in the Opposition, including the Congress party, voting in favour, but with caveats. The bill, if enacted, will make triple talaq a criminal offence. 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.