Explaining the Union Cabinet's move to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha, on Wednesday, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said that the bill aimed at gender equality for Muslim women. He added that as the bill had lapsed in the Rajya Sabha before the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, this bill would be introduced to convert the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance into a bill.
"This bill stands for humanity, a need for justice, it is a matter for gender justice and gender equality. Muslim women deserve justice. There have been previous attempts to pass this bill. While it was passed in Lok Sabha, it did not pass the Rajya Sabha. Hence, an ordinance was needed to be passed each time. This bill will be introduced to make the ordinance into a bill after the lapse of the ordinance," he said.
Elaborating on the contents of the new bill, he said that provisions for mutual consent, bail on hearing and other provisions had been added to the bill as per concerns raised by the Opposition which were discussed in the parliament previously.
"On this matter, the concerns raised by the Opposition and other parties have been considered. Hence, (Muslim) women have got subsistence through this bill. There is a provision for mutual consent between husband and wife in court, and an FIR can be filed by the affected woman or her blood relative. The bill includes a provision for bail if a judge decides after hearing. In this way it is a comprehensive just bill," he added.
Talking about the wide-spread support of women and people for the bill, he said that he felt confident that it would pass the Rajya Sabha this time.
"During this election, many Muslim women and people had supported this bill. Many Islamic countries have banned the act of triple talaq. This bill supports the motto of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas Aur Sabka Vishwas. I am sure that this historic bill will be passed by the Rajya Sabha, progressing the country," he said.
Earlier in the day, reports had emerged that the Union Cabinet is likely to renew the bill to ban the practice of instant triple talaq in its meeting underway. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha in May, the contentious bill had lapsed as it could not be passed by Parliament after being opposed by the Opposition and was pending in Rajya Sabha.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which made the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) a penal offence, was opposed by opposition parties which claimed that jail term for the husband for divorcing his wife was legally untenable. The government had promulgated the ordinance on triple talaq twice.
The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will be beginning on June 17 where the new government plans to convert 10 ordinances, including the one to ban the practice of instant triple talaq, into law.