A Bill to criminalise the Muslim instant divorce practice of “triple talaq”, remained undiscussed in Rajya Sabha. The opposition demanded that the Bill be scrutinized by a select committee of the House. The Bill aims to criminalize the practice of instant triple talaq.
Last year on December 27, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, was passed by Lok Sabha. In spite of the subsequent seven sittings of the house, the matter came up for discussion just once.
Rajya Sabha did not discuss the bill before being adjourned sine die after the winter session was extended by a day.
The leader of the opposition party Ghulam Nabi Azad told the House that “A very important bill is pending. Under Rule 125, the bill should first go to a standing committee and if not then a select committee and the Centre has broken that rule,”
The ruling BJP-led NDA had not a majority in the Rajya Sabha. It would have been an advantage for the opposition party if the Bill had been taken up.
The opposition resolution could potentially have gone through as AIADMK, TMC, NCP, and BJD supported the demand made by Congress and TMC for the bill being scrutinised by the select committee.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had previously stated that nearly 22 countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the bill “cannot be passed until it has gone through a scrutiny. Let this be referred to a select committee. Even if the Lok Sabha has passed it, the Rajya Sabha is not a rubber stamp.”
“Triple talaq,” is a divorce procedure in which a Muslim man can instantly leave his wife by simply uttering the Arabic word “talaq”- which means divorce three times. Last year The Supreme Court ruled the practice as unconstitutional.
Thereafter, the government in September 2018 declared “triple talaq” as illegal and invalid. It can be punishable with a jail term of three years for the husband.
In India, most of the 18 crores Muslims are Sunnis governed by the Muslim Personal Law for family disputes. These laws include the practice of “triple talaq” whereby men can divorce by simply saying “talaq” three times — and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.