The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, which proposes to criminalise triple talaq – the practice of divorcing by uttering the word “talaq” thrice. It also proposes a three-year jail term for men who violate the law.
Members rejected all amendments to the bill. It will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for approval.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan held a voice vote for each clause of the proposed amendments to the bill after members debated its provisions through the day. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had tabled the legislation.
Earlier on Thursday, the Congress had said it was in favour of the bill and urged the government to refer it to the standing committee to correct its flaws. Prasad had said it was a historic day for India and a “significant step towards women’s empowerment, women’s respect and women’s rights”.
However, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the bill violates fundamental rights and lacks “legal coherence”. Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab also said it was flawed and had many internal contradictions.
Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar questioned the credibility of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, asking who had chosen the organisation to represent the Muslim community in the country.
On August 22, the Supreme Court had struck down triple talaq, calling the Islamic practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality before the law. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board had opposed the verdict, saying it was “contrary to the protection guaranteed by the Constitution of India”.