The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, or the triple talaq bill, with 99 votes in favour and 84 against. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 25, and now awaits presidential assent.
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.
Opposition parties were against the bill in its current form, but the government prevailed after two ruling coalition partners walked out of the House.
10.46 pm: Singhvi questions the relevance of the law. “Triple talaq does not have any legal standpoint, then what was the need to criminalise it?” he asks. “Even if the woman does not want it, her relative can get the husband arrested. Bail will be very difficult.”
10.43 pm: Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi says they fundamentally support the bill, but opposed to two-three things. “The Supreme Court had struck down triple talaq, you had also struck down down triple talaq through law, then what is the need to criminalise an imaginary thing?” he asks.
10 pm: BJP Working President JP Nadda says it is a great day for the Indian democracy as it dealt a big blow to a centuries-old wrong practice.
9.30 pm: BJP President and Home Minister Amit Shah thanks all parties who supported this “historic bill”. He says the law will free Muslim women “from the curse of this regressive practice”.
9.10 pm: AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi says that the triple talaq bill should be seen “only as one part of many attacks on Muslim identity and citizenship since 2014”.
“Mob violence, police atrocities & mass incarceration won’t bog us down,” he says. “With a firm belief in the Constitution, we’ve withstood oppression, injustices & denial of rights.”
Owaisi says: “Laws don’t reform society. If they did: sex-selective abortions, child abuse, wife abandonment & dowry would’ve been history.”
He says the law is against Muslim women and “marginalises them even more”. “It is a testing time for those of us who believe in rule of law & the guarantees of non-arbitrariness, freedom of religion & right to distinct culture enshrined in the Constitution,” he says.
8.35 pm: Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani says passage of the triple talaq bill is a victory for millions of Muslim women and a “true testimony” to the Narendra Modi government’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” motto, reports PTI.
7.34 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanks all parties and MPs who supported the triple talaq bill. “An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history!” he tweets. “Parliament abolishes Triple Talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society. India rejoices today!”
7.16 pm: Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says it is a historic day. “Both the Houses have given justice to the Muslim women,” he says. “This is the beginning of a transforming India.”
7.14 pm: Congress leader Raj Babbar tells ANI that the triple talaq bill is a big blow to all family laws in the country. “A civil law has been made a criminal law,” he says. “It’s a historic mistake.”
7.13 pm: The Code on Wages Bill, 2019, has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
7.10 pm: The Rajya Sabha is now discussing the Companies (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
6.49 pm: The Rajya Sabha passed the triple talaq bill 99 votes to 84. The Biju Janata Dal supported the legislation, while BJP partners Janata Dal (United) and AIADMK walked out.
6.43 pm: The Rajya Sabha passes the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, or the triple talaq bill. Both Houses of Parliament have now passed the bill.
6.30 pm: The proposal to send the bill to a select committee for scrutiny has been rejected. The proposal got 100 votes in favour and 84 against.
6.15 pm: Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who tabled the bill, responds to the four-and-half-hour-long debate. He cites jail provisions in the anti-dowry law and the law against multiple marriages by Hindu men to justify the three-year jail term for Muslim men who give triple talaq, reports PTI.
Prasad tells Ghulam Nabi Azad to think why the Congress never won a majority since getting 400-plus seats in 1984. “I am a minister of Narendra Modi government and not Rajiv Gandhi government,” Prasad says, citing the Shah Bano case of 1986.
5.45 pm: Congress MP Digvijay Singh asks where the government’s support was for Muslim women during the 2002 Gujarat riots and when their husbands were lynched by mobs. “Where was your love for Muslim women then?” he asks, reports The Indian Express.
4.49 pm: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MPs stage a walkout of the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the triple talaq bill, The Indian Express reports. MP SR Balasubramaniam says that the bill should be sent to a select committee for scrutiny.
4.44 pm: Congress member Amee Yajnik says she is not against the triple talaq bill but against the criminal angle in the bill, News18 reports. “I am not against the bill,” she says. “I am for women empowerment.” She says that through this bill, the government thrust the women into a criminal magisterial court to take up a family matter.
4.38 pm: Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswan objects to the triple talaq bill and questions the BJP on women empowerment in other religions, The Indian Express reports. Viswan asks why are women not allowed to join the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
4.36 pm: All India Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy says the condition of workers is very bad, The Hindu reports. “The workers will have bargaining power only as long as the management makes a profit,” he says.
4.28 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s D Ravikumar says one is afraid that the labour rights won over the years would end up being tarnished by the Code on Wages’ clauses on minimum wages, The Hindu reports. He says minimum wages for farm labour should be revised every two years, while other for labour, minimum wages need to be revised every four years.
4.22 pm: Lok Sabha discusses the Code on Wages Bill, 2019, The Hindu reports.
4.15 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Majid Memon says when the Supreme Court pronounces judgment, it becomes a law by itself, The Hindu reports. “For the purposes of giving effect to a law made by the SC, you are bringing about another law,” he questions. “You have to adequately promulgate the law in place by SC, but the government has failed to do so.”
“How do you expect a Muslim man to be sent to jail for committing no offence,” he adds. “According to SC judgment, the triple talaq is ineffective. So there is no offence.”
4.11 pm: Laway says he is happy to see the debate on the welfare of Muslim women and men, The Hindu reports. He says the bill should have been to protect Indian women, then the doubts of the community would have been erased.
4.07 pm: Peoples Democratic Party’s Nazir Ahmed Laway opposes the bill and says it communalises divorce, The Indian Express reports.
4.04 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s TKS Elangovan says the government should have brought a bill to find alternative way of divorce, The Hindu reports. He says only instant divorce has been banned, and not divorce. He suggests that the bill must be withdrawn.
3.52 pm: Saroj Pandey of Bharatiya Janata Party accuses Congress of playing politics, The Hindu reports. She says the three-year imprisonment will impart fear on the minds of men who wish to use instant talaq route. “Women are not votebanks,” she says.
3.40 pm: Ghulam Nabi Azad says triple talaq bill is politically motivated, ANI reports. He says it will lead to minorities fighting amongst themselves. “Husband and wife will hire lawyers against each other, land will be sold in order to pay lawyers,” Azad says. “By the time jail term will be over, they will be bankrupt. When they will come out of jail they will either commit suicide or become dacoits and thieves, that is the intention of your bill.”
3.38 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut supports the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha. He says it will strengthen the idea of secularism in the country, The Indian Express reports.
3.27 pm: Azad says Indian Muslims are proud Indians, secular, socialist and democratic. He says we don’t follow the rules of other countries, The Hindu reports. “Will you enforce every minority judgment? The Supreme Court also asked you to frame a law on mob lynching. Will you you bring a law? he questions.
3.26 pm: Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad says the triple talaq bill is a misnomer, The Hindu reports. He says that the bill claims to protect Muslim women but the idea is to destruct Muslim families. He says it is reintroduced after “cosmetic surgery”.
3.25 pm: Rajya Sabha continues to discuss the triple talaq bill, The Hindu reports. YSR Congress Party member Vijaisai Reddy says Muslim marriages are a civil contract and there shouldn’t be a criminal remedy for a civil contract.
3.18 pm: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader A Navaneethakrishnan says that the party is against the triple talaq bill, ANI reports. “So, at the time of voting, we will walk out,” he says.
3.11 pm: Lok Sabha passes the Consumer Protection Bill, reports ANI.
3.09 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam opposes triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha, reports The Indian Express. “Hidden agenda is to put Muslim men behind bars,” says party MP Tiruchi Siva. He says the bill goes against the preamble of the country and questions the spirit of secularism.
3.06 pm: Lok Sabha chair puts the Consumer Protection Bill to vote, The Hindu reports. A voice vote is being undertaken.
3.03 pm: Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu accepts the resignation of Congress MP Sanjay Singh from the Upper House, reports ANI. Singh, who also quit the Congress, will join the BJP on Wednesday.
2.58 pm: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) opposes the triple talaq bill during a debate in the Rajya Sabha, reports The Indian Express. Party MP Elamaran Kareem says the bill seeks to instil insecurity in Muslims and is discriminatory to the community.
2.54 pm: Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhaga, members walk out of Lok Sabha after raising the matter of the car crash involving the Unnao rape complainant, The Indian Express reports. Trinamool Congress members walked out twice.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demands better security for the complainant’s family and says there was no intention to politicise the case.
2.47 pm: YSR Congress Party will oppose triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha and vote against it, says party leader Vijay Sai Reddy, according to ANI.
2.40 pm: BJP ally Janata Dal (United) stages a walk out in Rajya Sabha during a discussion on the triple talaq bill, reports Hindustan Times. This will bring down the majority mark, making it easier for the government to push the bill through in the Rajya Sabha.
1.17 pm: Home Minister Amit Shah tells BJP MPs to ensure they attend Parliament proceedings so that draft legislations are backed by maximum number of MPs, reports PTI. He was addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting. Since the Opposition has often been pressing for divisions of votes, BJP members should be present in their respective House, Shah said.
1.15 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned for lunch, to resume at 2 pm, reports The Indian Express.
1.13 pm: BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi counters Congress MP Amee Yajnik’s arguments, reports The Indian Express. “After 33 years again, the debate has risen on this wrong practice,” he says. “We are definitely doing this for the empowerment of all women. It is the duty of the ruling government to ensure that the dignity of citizens is maintained. Most Islamic countries have criminalised the practice. This bill will be passed today.”
1.10 pm: Yajnik says the the Supreme Court has already abolished the law, reports The Indian Express. “How can you bring a law for a law that is already struck down by the SC [Supreme Court],” Yajnik says. “You also have a provision where a blood relative can also give a complaint. But how can a third-person or a stranger enter the family component or the private matter between the husband and wife. It is a private matter and the Bill puts her right to dignity at stake.”
1.08 pm: Congress MP Amee Yajnik objects to the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha, reports Hindustan Times. “How are you going to provide support to the woman seeking assistance,” she asks. “How are you going to take care of the children who don’t even know why their parents are fighting in court? Do you have provisions of providing psychological counselling to those children?”
12.15 pm: Prasad requests members not to politicise the matter. “It’s about humanity, women’s right, gender justice and equality,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.
12.10 pm: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 or the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha, ANI reports.
“We have made the practice unconstitutional, but there is no legal framework to back it up,” Prasad said while introducing the bill in the Upper House, according to The Indian Express. “We have brought a law because it is deterrence. I request the members to look at this bill from the prism of humanity and not politics.”
11.30 am: Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says the Unnao incident was a “blot on civilised society”, reports ANI. “We demand that the Home Minister come to the House and give a statement,” Chowdhury says. “What kind of a society are we talking about, where such an incident happens. The Opposition also demanded that the prime minister answer the House on the car crash involving the rape complainant.”
11.20 am: Opposition MPs raise slogans in the Lok Sabha on the car crash involving the Unnao rape complainant. “It should not be politicised, CBI inquiry is already underway, FIR has been registered,” says BJP MP Pralhad Joshi. “Government is investigating with impartiality.”
11.10 am: Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and five MPs give Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha over “gruesome crimes against women, a matter of great concern” in connection with Unnao, reports The Indian Express.
11 am: The BJP’s parliamentary meeting is under way at Parliament premises, reports ANI.