One of the most controversial and contentious legislations, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill also known as Triple Talaq Bill, prioritized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in it’s second inning of governance in 2019 got passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The bill was opposed by the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) citing harassment of Muslim men under the name of law in the presence of the act drafted by the NDA government. The bill allows alimony to the Muslim women divorcee and imprisonment up to 3 years to the Muslim man pronouncing instant triple talaq to his wife.
The Congress party leader and leader of opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, claimed that the criminalisation clause of the act is objectionable as this will put Muslim men in jail leaving their family vulnerable to household problems. He also termed the bill politically motivated against the Muslim men in the country.
The Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, refuted Azad’s claims and said that his party considers Muslims a very much part of the nation even though BJP gets little less votes from them. He said that his party works on “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” principle and cannot leave the Muslim women fall prey to ill-minded men who use Triple Talaq or Instant Talaq and make their lives a hell.
Taking a dig at Rajiv Gandhi’s government, the Union Law Minister recalled how Congress party passed a legislation, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, which nullified the Supreme Court’s judgement in favour of Shah Bano in 1978 which directed her husband to take onus of her alimony after the Triple Talaq. The Congress party is said to had taken the step in 1986 to pass the bill to appease the Muslim community. Prasad said, “I am a minister of Narendra Modi government and not Rajiv Gandhi government,”, quoted TOI.
The Narendra Modi led BJP government failed to get the Triple Talaq Bill passed through Rajya Sabha earlier this year even though it could pass it successfully through the Lok Sabha where it was in majority. The BJP had aimed passing the triple talaq bill in it’s second term which got achieved on July 30. The walkout by NDA ally Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and an extended support from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) made a clear way for the bill to get passed in the Rajya Sabha.
The bill was also helped indirectly by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and YSR Congress party by remaining absent or by the walkout. The bill got 99 votes in it’s favour while 84 voted against the bill. The majority mark is set at 121 in the general case, however, in the absence of abovementioned parties’ Rajya Sabha members, the majority mark dropped.