Activists divided over Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha


As the Centre's ambitious bill that proposes to criminalise instant triple talaq was passed in the Lok Sabha Thursday, victory was declared on behalf of Indian Muslim women. The Narendra Modi government extended its support to Shayara Bano's fight and stood with Muslim women to support gender justice, gender parity and gender dignity.

Dev also demanded the government put in place a corpus to provide for subsistence allowance that the bill mentions, since it was unrealistic to expect a husband in jail to fend for his family.

Initiating the discussion on Thursday afternoon, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the bill will ensure gender justice and equality and termed it "historic".

The bill was passed amid hue and cry of most of the leading political parties in the Opposition, together with the Congress party, voting in favor of the bill, but with some cautions.

The bill was passed by a voice vote after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member NK Premachandran, reports Hindustan Times (HT).

"At least 300 cases of triple talaq have happened in 2017 out of which 100 after the Supreme Court verdict".

Making triple talaq a cognisable offence means the police would be liable to arrest a Muslim man accused by anyone (and not just the affected party, i.e. the wife) of the crime.

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Similarly, AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, one of the staunchest opponents of the Bill, pointed out that the Bill is riddled with inconsistencies and loopholes, which are targeted legal discrimination of Muslim men, and thereby putting Muslim women in jeopardy.

It also made a decision to couch its endeavour in contemporary political lexicon calling the bill to punish practitioners of triple talaq as a move towards gender justice.

The discussion of the Bill in the Lok Sabha has drawn mixed views from experts.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 will now be taken up in the Rajya Sabha. Recalling an anecdote of the Nehruivan era, Akbar said the country's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had during a conversation revealed that he could not reform the Muslim Personal Law because the time was not appropriate. Dev wondered if the Government was talking about women's empowerment, why it was delaying women reservation bill. He also alleged that this Government is pursuing communal agenda and it seems that it want to eliminate identity of Muslim in the country.

"This bill is flawed, there are many internal contradictions in the Bill", BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab said. 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.

1pm: Ritabrata Banerjee, who was recently expelled from the CPI (M), demands in the Rajya Sabha that the government declare January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as "Desh Prem Diwas" (Patriotism Day) and a national holiday as a fitting tribute to "the forgotten hero" of the Indian independence struggle. Some MPs shot back at Owaisi that if he doesn't want to go jail better avoid illegal instant triple talaq.