The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage)Bill 2018,which was passed in the Lok Sabha last week, could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha today as the upper House of the Parliament was adjourned till January 2, 2019, following the protests by the Opposition. The opposition led by Congress disrupted the proceedings of the house as the government failed to cede to their demand of setting a select committee to scrutinize the triple talaq bill. While BJP used its majority in the lower house to pass the triple talaq bill, in spite of protests and walkouts, the real test will be in the Rajya Sabha where it lacks the numbers.The revised triple talaq bill that penalizes instant divorce is likely to face a stalemate,much like the previous version of the bill.
Congress along with other Opposition Parties is all set to oppose the proposed law. Ahead of the session, the opposition party leaders met in the parliament building to finalize their strategy for the day and moved a resolution demanding that the bill be sent to a select committee for review. The leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said,“We are not opposing the bill but the bill in its present form. We are moving a motion to refer this bill to a select committee. This is such an important bill which can positively or negatively affect the lives of crores of people can’t be passed just like this without going to a select committee,”.
The triple Talaq bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2017 to give effect to SC’s judgment in August 2017 which declared the practice unconstitutional by 3:2 majority in the case of Shayara Bano vs Union Of India. Bano. Shayara Bano, a 39-year-old woman from Uttarakhand, led the crusade against this archaic practice and filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in SC in 2016, seeking a ban on the practice of instantaneous triple talaq.
The major bone of contention in the bill is the clause which penalizes the offending husband and slaps him with a three-year jail term. The original draft of the bill made the practice a non-bailable offense which was later changed to bailable following objections raised by the Opposition. The offense has been made compoundable i.e. the case can be withdrawn if the victim and her husband come to a compromise. But the Opposition Parties claim that the bill still has severe flaws and needs to be reexamined. The Opposition is demanding the decriminalization of the practice of Triple Talaq and argued that it’s a civil wrong and hence cannot be criminalized.
Congress Leader of the house Mallikarjun Kharge on 27 December 2018 said, “It is very important to go into details of the Bill as its violative of several provisions of the Constitution-Articles 14 and 15 among others and hence should be referred to a joint select committee of the Parliament.”
Reacting sharply on the bill, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen( AIMIM) leader Asaududdin Owaisi said that the proposed bill violates Article 14,15,26 1nd 29, and the Preamble and is specifically targeting the Muslim Community.
The bill was introduced last week as an ordinance passed by the center. BJP has to ensure that the bill passes in this session as the ordinance is valid for only six months since its promulgation.