Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq bill by voice vote

Muslim woman from Hyderabad allegedly divorced by Omani husband over phone seeks govt help

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A day after the Lok Sabha passed the contentious bill on instant triple talaq, the development was hailed by several Muslim women involved in the judicial war against the practice, with a rider that the government should have also banned polygamy.

The bill allows the victim to approach a magistrate to seek "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children.

The day saw intense debate in Parliament over the Bill, and Union minister of law, Ravi Shankar Prasad, led the Centre's argument by defending the Bill, which was drafted in just three months after the landmark Supreme Court judgement in August this year.

The proposed law, which makes talaq-e-biddat a "cognizable and non-bailable offence", has provisions of "imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and fine" for any Muslim man who divorces his wife by uttering talaq three times in quick succession.

The minister cited a case of triple talaq in Rampur district reported in the media and pressed on the urgency of passing the Bill without sending it to the standing panel.

If the Congress joins the BJP in supporting the bill, it would have a smooth passage and many Muslim women would swerve towards it (the Congress) when it comes to electoral politics. He said that the government was aware of almost 100 cases of Muslim men pronouncing Triple Talaq to instantly divorce their wives, but police could not act against them due to absence of a law.

BJP's strong advocacy of banning triple talaq got a huge boost when the Supreme Court, by a 3:2 majority judgment, banned in August the pernicious practice of Muslim men pronouncing 'talaq' (divorce) by repeating the word thrice, be it in person or even through e-mail or SMS.

During the discussion, Opposition members asked the government why it was in a hurry to rush the legislation without proper consultation among stakeholders. They said the bill's provisions could further alienate the Muslim community from the mainstream.

Congress members protested the introduction of the National Medical Commission Bill by Health Minister J P Nadda, demanding that it be sent to the parliamentary standing committee for thorough scrutiny.

Conspicuously, none from the Trinamool Congress participated in the discussion.

A bill to replace the apex medical education regulator - Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body, to ensure transparency, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday. Party sources said the decision had to do with the party's electoral compulsions in West Bengal. "There is talk of criminality which can cause problems", she said.

Similarly, AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, one of the staunchest opponents of the Bill, pointed out that the Bill is riddled with inconsistencies and loopholes, which are targeted legal discrimination of Muslim men, and thereby putting Muslim women in jeopardy. He said the SC had asked the government to pass a law on the matter.

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