The president of the women’s wing of the Congress on Sunday said the party was willing to support the instant triple talaq bill if the Centre adds a provision of alimony. Susmita Dev, the chief of All India Mahila Congress, said the party was never against the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, reported PTI.

“But the bill, in its present form, would be harmful to the interests of Muslim women,” she said. “It should have a provision of alimony for the victim.”

The bill criminalises the practice of divorcing by uttering the word “talaq” thrice in any form – spoken, in writing, or over electronic communication. It also proposes a three-year jail term for men who violate the law. The Lok Sabha cleared the bill in December, but it is pending in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress did not vote against the bill in the Lok Sabha.

Dev said that the aim of the bill was to ensure that Muslim women get justice and jailing men could worsen the situation. “What will happen to the livelihood of the women if their husbands go to jail?” she said.

The All India Mahila Congress chief said she had tabled an amendment in Lok Sabha for the provision of alimony but it wasn’t passed. “If the amendment is accepted, then we would definitely support the bill,” she said.

On July 16, Congress President Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure smooth passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill during the Parliament’s Monsoon Session. The next day, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Gandhi to support the government’s bills prohibiting triple talaq and nikah halala.

Dev accused the government of “indulging in dealings” to pass the bill without a fuss. “Did they say in their manifesto that they would pass both the bills together?” Dev asked. “We didn’t have the majority. But they have clear majority. If the Congress and the BJP both support the Women’s Reservation Bill, then it can be passed.”