The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019. Opposition parties are against the bill, also known as the triple talaq bill, in its current form.
The bill seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq – which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives by uttering the word “talaq” thrice in spoken or written forms, or via electronic communication – a penal offence. It prescribes a penalty of imprisonment up to three years for the offence, and provides for subsistence allowance to married Muslim women and their children.
Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha passed the RTI Amendment Bill.
Here are the top updates of the day:
7.29 pm: The RTI Amendment Bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha.
7.25 pm: Congress MPs in the Rajya Sabha walk out of the House during the debate on the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill.
7 pm: The government says it has decided to extend the Parliament session till August 7.
6.44 pm: The Muslim Women (Protection on Rights of Marriage) Bill passes in Lok Sabha 303 to 82 votes.
6.32 pm: Voting begins in the Lok Sabha on the triple talaq bill, reports ANI.
5.24 pm: Nominated member in the Rajya Sabha, Swapan Dasgupta, says the RTI is a victim of “unintended consequences”, reports The Indian Express. “It was set up with a certain nobility of purpose - to make government transparent and to allow citizens access the process of decision making,” Dasgupta says. “...it has also been hijacked to a very large extent by the people called activists. I think every one of us knows this is the truth but refused to accept it.”
5.20 pm: Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K Keshav Rao, who was one of the signatories seeking to send the RTI (Amendment) Bill to a select committee, says he is supporting the bill now, reports The Hindu. He says the minister assured that the law will not be diluted.
5.16 pm: National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi says Supreme Court has already said that triple talaq is void, reports The Hindu. “So what is the need for a law,” he asks. “We will achieve nothing by making it an offence.”
5.11 pm: Congress MP Mohammad Jawed demands that the triple talaq bill be sent to the Standing Committee for review, saying it targets muslim community of the country, reports PTI. Jawed says the intent of the government is not clean and it wants to sideline the Muslim community in India.
4.58 pm: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP P Raveendranath Kumar supports the triple talaq bill, reports Hindustan Times. “This is not a matter of majority or minority,” Kumar says. “It is a matter of humanity. It is a matter of women’s rights. This bill provides equal rights to women.”
4.50 pm: Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposes the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha, reports The Indian Express. “The government is scared to give some independence to RTI. If you make this amendment, you’re going to downgrade the institution and control it.”
4.44 pm: Galla asks why only Muslim men were being punished for abandoning their wives, reports Hindustan Times. “And the bill takes care of only 10 per cent of the population,” Galla says. “What about the other women of the country? TDP is for women’s rights but opposes this bill.”
4.42 pm: Telugu Desam Party MP Jayadev Galla says the triple talaq bill will criminalise a civil act, reports Hindustan Times. “The bill is a consequence of a Supreme Court judgement,” Galla says. “There are two types of talaqs, one initiated by the woman, and the other initiated by the man. According to the bill, the man will be sent to jail if he says to his wife the word ‘talaq’ three times. Will he go to jail if he abandons his wife in any other way?”
4.36 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Abdul Majeed Ariff says Muslim minorities live in fear in the country, reports The Hindu. The National Investigation Agency Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Triple Talaq are bills that target the Muslims in the country. Ariff says all other religious laws come under civil procedures.
4.31 pm: “I request the speaker to listen to the 10 lakh women who have signed the petition and said that we cannot bear to be thrown on the road,” BJP MP Poonam Mahajan says, according to Hindustan Times.
4.22 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned briefly for the third time over RTI (Amendment) Bill, reports PTI.
4.20 pm: BJP MP Poonam Mahajan says this is a fight against injustice, reports Hindustan Times. “Law has taught her that we should not bear injustice.”
4.18 pm: Owaisi says no action was taken against the people who were found guilty in the #MeToo movement, reports Hindustan Times. He says: “Why? This is your love for women. If you really love the women of the country, take all the women legislators to Sabarimala in a special aircraft.”
4.15 pm: Owaisi says that the Supreme Court has decriminalised homosexuality and adultery, but the government is criminalising triple talaq, The Hindu reports. He says that marriage in Islam is a contract for just one life and notes that there was still no law against mob lynching.
4.12 pm: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi speaks on triple talaq ban. “You have decided to put the man behind bars,” Owaisi says, according to Hindustan Times. “Do you think he will pay for his wife’s maintenance? Also, why should she wait for him while he is in jail for three years? Will it be fair to keep her waiting, still as his wife, for three years?”
4.07 pm: Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi says: “When a man of another religion leaves his wife, do they have to go to the jail? Why have you kept the name of the bill Muslim Women Protection Bill? Give a boon to the women of all religions by passing a bill that is actually about gender equality and women empowerment”, reports Hindustan Times. Gogoi asks for a law on mob lynching also.
4.02 pm: Uproar in Rajya Sabha during discussion on Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, reports ANI.
4 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla asks members to keep the dignity of Parliament, reports ANI. “It is very easy for all of you to demand ‘expunge this expunge that’, but why should the need to expunge arise at all?” he asks. “Once a remark is given, it is already in public domain. Therefore, we all should speak keeping the dignity of the Parliament in mind.”
3.37 pm: The discussion on the triple talaq bill resumes after Azam Khan walks out of the House. Kirron Kher calls the practice of triple talaq archaic.
3.36 pm: Samajwadi Party MP Akhilesh Yadav defends Azam Khan’s remarks.
Khan says, “I have had a long political career, it’s impossible that I will say something that will hurt someone. If I said anything unparliamentary, I declare my resignation now.”
3.14 pm: Ruckus in the Lok Sabha after Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan makes objectionable remarks about MP Rama Devi, who was in the chair in the absence of Speaker Om Birla.
Birla returns to the chair and rebukes Khan for his use of language, and says the dignity of the Speaker’s chair must be maintained. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demands an apology from Khan.
3.10 pm: Anubhav Mohanty, Biju Janata Dal MP, says his party supports the government as far as the letter and intent of the bill is concerned, but wants certain matters such as maintenance need to be addressed, ANI reports.
3 pm: Janata Dal (United) MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh says his party is a partner in the NDA but it has always been clear that it will not support the BJP on certain controversial matters.
Singh says the triple talaq bill will create distrust in a certain community. “The relationship between a husband and a wife cannot be decided by law,” he says. “No one likes divorce and no one wants their relationship to become bad, but the government should let the community decide for itself and instead of bringing the law, work on raising public awareness with the help of religious leaders. Do not make a law in a hurry.”
2.45 pm: Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut says that something that the Supreme Court has called unconstitutional can be removed by legal means, if not through social means.
2.43 pm: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says the Opposition is against the bill because they are afraid of losing a certain set of votes.
2.08 pm: No one sends a Hindu man to jail for abandoning his wife, Kanimozhi says, according to The Hindu. Laws against domestic violence are stronger than this bill, she adds.
2.05 pm: DMK MP Kanimozhi opposes the bill and says it is meant to “arouse the communal passion”. “You are passing bills on women without having adequate women in the House,” she says. “What laws are you bringing to stop ‘honour’ killing, mob lynching? What freedom we have when we can’t eat what we like, pray whom we like or refrain from praying?”
2 pm: Mohammad Jawed of the Congress says instant triple talaq has already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and an additional law to protect only Muslim women is not needed, The Hindu reports.
1.40 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi says: “All religious rules are inside your houses. The moment you step out of your house, it is the Constitution of India that rules.”
1.15 pm: Revolutionary Socialist Party MP NK Premachandran says during the discussion: “Why are you not enforcing imprisonment for divorce in the Hindu and Christian communities? Why alone in Muslim community? This is discrimination against Muslim community.”
The bill prescribes imprisonment of up to three years for the offence.
Premachandran says the bill is politically motivated and meant target a particular community, The Hindu reports.
1 pm: Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduces the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha. He says that since the 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court on the topic, 345 cases of triple talaq have come to light till July 24, 2019.
12.30 pm: The Congress has decided to oppose the triple talaq bill and has asked all its alliance partners to do the same, ANI reports.