Congress says triple talaq Bill 'flawed', BJP calls it 'instant relief'

Illustration by Binay Sinha

Terming the triple talaq Bill as one with several lacunae, Congress MP Sushmita Dev on Thursday said had there been more women in the Lok Sabha a "flawed" Bill like the one brought by the government can never be passed and asked why the government was not bringing the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said the Bill had been brought to give Muslim women "instant relief".

Initiating the debate on The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, Dev pointed out that the government was not legislating on the issue of marital rape citing that the law might be misused, and questioned if the law on Talaq-e-Biddat may not be misused.

"Women's equality is not an idea but a right... The entire country is waiting for the Women's Reservation Bill, not because we need reservation but had there been more women in the House, a Bill like this with so many lacunae would not be passed," Dev said.

"You are not ready to criminalise marital rape... Would this Bill also not open possibilities for abuse of Muslim men," she said.

Congress, while supporting the Bill, sought to send the Bill to a standing committee to weed out the shortcomings in the legislation, but the government did not agree.

Dev said there were contradictions in the Bill, and pointed out that while there is a provision for three-year jail term, the Bill also provides women right to seek maintenance from the husband, and questioned how a jailed husband would provide that amount, and urged the government to set up a corpus to help such women.

She said the Bill's provisions would close all ways for reconciliation.

She also questioned why the government waited for the Supreme Court judgment before bringing the law if they found the practice so regressive.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi, speaking after Dev, said that divorce was a painful process, because of which women suffered throughout their life.

"God forbid that any woman has to go through a divorce," the MP said.

She said that to give Muslim women instant relief from this practice this Bill had been brought.

"The speed at which this divorce is given, the government wanted to bring a Bill to give relief to women at the same speed," she said.

"When it is a case of triple talaq, where is the scope for reconciliation," she said.

She also accused Congress of appeasing Muslims and said there is a need for codification of Islamic law in the country.

"They (Congress) always did appeasement politics for which the country has paid for 30 years and today we have this chance. If we lose this chance today we will not have another chance.," she said.

"Codification of Islamic law is needed in this country. No one knows what is Sharia, Talaq-e-Biddat... No one knows the difference," she added.


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