Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday asked Congress President Rahul Gandhi why the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had allowed the Women’s Reservation Bill to lapse when it was in power, ANI reported. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill in 2010 but it did not get through the Lower House.
In a letter to the Congress leader, Prasad also asked Gandhi to support the government’s bills prohibiting triple talaq and nikah halala.
Triple talaq is the practice by which Muslim men could divorce their wives by pronouncing the word “talaq” three times. Last year, the Supreme Court declared that the practice was unconstitutional. The practice of nikah halala bars a man from remarrying his former wife unless she has married another man, consummated that marriage and divorced him. The woman is also expected to observe a separation period called “iddat” before reconciling with her first husband.
Prasad’s comments come a day after Gandhi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament, which will begin on Wednesday.
Gandhi offered his party’s unconditional support to the bill, which seeks to reserve 33% seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. Any further delay will make it impossible to implement the legislation before the next general elections in 2019, Gandhi wrote. The Congress president posted the letter on Twitter, and said it was “time for [Modi] to rise above party politics [and] walk his talk”.
On Tuesday, News18 quoted Prasad as saying: “As part of the ‘new deal’, we should approve, in both Houses of Parliament the Women’s Reservation Bill, the law prohibiting triple talaq and imposing penal consequence on those who violate the law, and prohibiting nikah halala.”