The All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Thursday said that it would take steps through democratic means to “amend, improve or scrap” the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, hours after it was passed in the Lok Sabha.
The bill proposes criminalising triple talaq, and a three-year jail term for men who violate the law. Triple talaq is the practice of divorcing by uttering the word “talaq” thrice. It will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for approval.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s Asaduddin Owaisi told ANI, “The bill will not give justice to Muslim women, but will lead to more injustice.” However, the Shia Waqf Board called for making the punishment to those indulging in the practice more stringent.
Woman’s rights groups also differed in their opinions about the passage of the bill, PTI reported. The Bharatiya Muslima Mahila Andolan said that the proceedings in the Lok Sabha showed that the voices of Muslim women have finally been heard. “Until now a big section of the citizenry, the Muslim women, were denied legal protection, which is not acceptable,” Zakia Soman of the outfit said.
Many others like senior advocate Indira Jaising, however, were unhappy that the bill was passed in a single day in the Lower House of the Parliament. “Very shocked to hear that Lok Sabha has passed the bill. I would have expected the bill to go to the Standing Committee before it came to the Lok Sabha, which was not done,” Jaising said, according to PTI.
She also wrote on Twitter that it was a “shameful display of brute force” which had turned “muslim husbands into criminals”. “This is not what we fought for in the Supreme Court of India,” she wrote. “How will it help a muslim wife who wants to keep her marriage to have her husband sitting in prison?”
BJP leaders, meanwhile, congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the bill. Party chief Amit Shah said the bill is a “historic step towards ensuring dignity for Muslim women”.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Modi Government resolves to stand with women of this country and uphold their dignity, equality and justice.”
Rajyavardhan Rathore said the bill will ensure “women empowerment” in India.
On August 22, the Supreme Court had struck down triple talaq, calling the 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 then opposed the verdict, saying it was “contrary to the protection guaranteed by the Constitution of India”.