By Priyale Chandra
Four months after the Supreme Court’s ruling on triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, declaring the practice as unconstitutional, the government has introduced a bill that makes the practice a punishable offence. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 28 December 2017. However, the triple talaq bill has exposed differences between the government and opposition once again, with even some allies of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) opposing the Bill.
What does the bill entail?
The triple talaq bill, also known as The Muslim Women (Protection of Marriage) Bill, makes the practice of triple talaq a criminal offence. It dubs the practice as “illegal and void“. A person who practices talaq-e-biddat is liable to face a prison sentence of up to three years, along with a fine. The bill also recognises triple talaq as a non-cognizable offence and entitles the victim to a “sustenance allowance“.
The government’s perspective
The government has introduced this bill in accordance with both the Supreme Court verdict and its own promise to eradicate the practice. The bill ties in with the attempts of the government to bring in a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The BJP has rubbished claims of the bill being a political move, describing it as a provision for “the dignity of women and gender equality“.
No support from the Opposition?
The triple talaq bill has faced criticism from a number of quarters. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and AIADMK are some of the parties against the bill. The AIMIM has called the bill a violation of Fundamental Rights. Party leader Asaduddin Owaisi has called the bill “an injustice to Muslim women“. Many parties have also questioned the inclusion of a jail term as punishment.
The interesting factor is that parties are seen as close to the government- the BJD and AIADMK, are also not supporting the triple talaq bill wholeheartedly. BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab called the proposed bill “faulty” in its framing. The BJD and AIADMK have called for a relook at the bill’s provisions. The Congress party echoed this stand, supporting the bill in spirit, but demanding a review by a parliamentary panel.
The triple talaq Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha without amendments. It is now set to be debated in the Rajya Sabha in the first week of January 2018.
What happens now?
It is unlikely that the Bill will get passed by the Rajya Sabha without amendments. The government is in a minority in the Upper House. Moreover, its allies are still questioning the bill. The BJP cannot guarantee the support of allies like the BJD and AIADMK. It is also unlikely that the JDU might support the triple talaq bill in a united manner.
The Prime Minister has stressed for consensus on this bill. However, this seems to be a far-fetched possibility. The most probable scenario is that the bill might go to a parliamentary panel for a relook, which makes it unlikely to be passed in the Winter Session.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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