Triple Talaq Bill or the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill-2019 is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, July 30. The BJP which is committed to pass the bill this time after it lapsed in the upper house in the last parliamentary session has issued a whip to its members to be present in a hope to ensure its passage. In the LOk Sabha the bill was passed by 302 votes in its favour while 82 against it, however in the Rajya Sabha the ruling BJP is in minority. Parties including Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool, MK Stalin's DMK, Congress have opposed the bill, while NDA ally JD(U) is also against the bill.
The opposition parties have bitterly opposed it but the government has asserted that the bill is a step towards gender equality and justice. Parties like the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the DMK have demanded that it be sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. However the government has maintained that the bill is for the welfare of Muslim women.
JD(U) Bihar president Vashishtha Narayan Singh who is a Rajya Sabha member did not clarify as to whether the party - headed by Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar - would stage a walkout or abstain from voting like it had done in the Lower House, or would vote against the bill in Upper House where the NDA is way short of majority.
Last week, when the bill was tabled before the Lok Sabha, the JD(U) had staged a walkout after the party's leader in the House Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan made an impassioned speech about the need for awareness in place of laws to banish retrograde customs. Lalan had also underscored that the bill, which seeks to make instant divorce punishable with three years in prison, could create an atmosphere of suspicion in the country.
"This question has been posed to us many times. Our stand on this issue has always been clear. The stand was the same in the past as it is now and will remain so in future," Singh said in response to queries from journalists.
Triple Talaq Bill or Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was proposed by the government as a result of the Supreme Court’s verdict declaring Talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq unconstitutional in August 2017. The bill proposes to criminalise talaq-e-biddat with a jail term of up to three years and fine. It is made a cognisable offence, if information relating to the offence is given by a married woman against whom talaq has been pronounced or any person related to her by blood or marriage. It also provides for allowance to Muslim women and custody of minor children as determined by the magistrate.
(with PTI inputs)