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BJP says triple talaq bill corrects historic wrong; Cong raises questions


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The BJP on Tuesday hailed the passage of the triple talaq bill by Parliament as a step that will help correct a historic wrong done to Muslim women, even as the Congress questioned the relevance of criminalising the practice.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that an "archaic and medieval practice" has been confined to the dustbin of history and the country is rejoicing today.
"India rejoices today," he said in a tweet minutes after Rajya Sabha passed the bill.
Modi said this is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society, as he thanked all parties and MPs who supported its passage.
"An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history! 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!" he said.
The prime minister said this is an occasion to salute the remarkable courage of those Muslim women who have suffered great wrongs due to the practice of triple talaq and added that its abolition will contribute to women empowerment and give them the dignity they deserve.
In a big victory, the Modi government secured Rajya Sabha's clearance for the landmark bill helped by support from the BJD, walkout by BJP allies JD(U) and AIADMK and some abstentions to get Parliament's approval for the contentious legislation.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill that makes instant triple talaq a criminal offence was passed with 99 votes in favour and 84 against. It was a major legislative success for the BJP-led NDA in the opposition-dominated Upper House where it lacks majority.
The Lok Sabha had passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 last week.
The Congress said there was no need to criminalise the practice which had already been struck down by the Supreme Court and senior party leader Raj Babbar termed the bill's passage as a "historic mistake".
"We had fundamentally supported this bill. We also wanted amendment for the provision of support to Muslim women. Our opposition was on two-three issues. 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," asked senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
"Triple talaq does not have any legal standpoint, then what was the need to criminalise it? Even if the woman does not want it, her relative can get the husband arrested. Bail will be very difficult... What is the relevance for this," he told reporters outside Parliament.
Babbar described the passage of the bill as a "big jolt" to family laws in India.
"A civil law has been changed into criminal law. This is a historic mistake," he said.
Home minister and BJP president Amit Shah said, "Today is a great day for India's democracy. I congratulate PM Narendra Modi ji for fulfilling his commitment and ensuring a law to ban triple talaq, which will free Muslim women from the curse of this regressive practice. I thank all parties who supported this historic bill."

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who piloted the bill, said it was a "historic day when the Rajya Sabha passed the triple talaq bill that was passed by Lok Sabha earlier".
"Government of PM @narendramodi has fulfilled its commitment by giving justice to Muslim women...No more Talaq-Talaq-Talaq," Prasad tweeted.
Slamming the Congress for opposing the bill, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party has again repeated a mistake made by it earlier. "The people will punish the Congress in the time to come," he said.
Terming it an end to the suffering of Muslim women, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said only Prime Minister Narendra Modi understood the pain of Muslim women and fulfilled his commitment for ensuring gender justice.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj congratulated the PM and all members of Parliament who helped in the passage of the revolutionary bill.
Another party leader Arun Jaitley said the passage of the bill is a monumental change in personal law. "Disheartened that the 'so called liberals' have opposed a progressive law. Congratulations to all, particularly Muslim women," he said.
TMC leader Derek O'Brien said, "Not floor management. TripleTalaqBill. It's the invisible and most dependable allies of the BJP: CBI and ED."

"Mockery of Parliament continues. 18 bills have been passed by both Houses and made into acts this Session. Only ONE scrutinised by any Parliament committee. Smothering the demand of constructive opposition to improve Bills. Ignoring conventions. Our founding fathers would weep," he tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal took a swipe at the parties and individuals who abstained during voting, saying it is sad to note that "those who claimed they oppose the bill and will vote against it, were not present in the House".
"One should ask them why they abstained. If they were not to come to the House during voting, why did they make tall claims that they will vote against the bill," he asked.
The Upper House passed the bill by 99 votes in favour and 84 against it.
Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and could attract a jail term of three years for the husband.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 10:35 PM IST

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