Triple talaq bill flawed, claims Mamata Banerjee

BJP minority cell workers at the Jharkhand party office in Ranchi celebrate the passage of the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha on Friday

Triple talaq bill flawed, claims Mamata Banerjee

The making of the bill by the Centre is preceded by the Supreme Court's directive which clearly passed an order previous year against the practice and also asked the central government to make law as early as possible.

The proposed legislation seeks to protect the rights of married Muslim women by prohibiting the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering the word "talaq" three times at one go. Going by the Lok Sabha experience, the government appears to be unwilling to listen to and accept any suggestions to strengthen the bill and plug in loopholes.

According to the government sources, the bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. In Moradabad, a woman has filed a complaint against her husband and in-laws that she was given instant triple talaq by her husband because her family was not able to fulfil the demand of a Swift vehicle or Rs 10 lakh cash as dowry.

Kolkata: Breaking her silence over the triple talaq bill which was recently tabled in the Rajya Sabha, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday described it as "erroneous and defective". "This bill must be sent to a select committee".

In August, India's Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional and ordered the government to come up with new legislation within six months to regulate marriage and divorce among the minority Muslim community, which numbers around 180 million out of the nation's 1.25 billion people. "They will lose Muslim votes if such a bill is passed".

Banerjee also claimed that her Trinamool Congress is the only party in the country having 33 per cent women MPs. Zakia Soman, its founder, welcomed the move to criminalise triple talaq on the ground that it will act as a deterrent.

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However, the Opposition remained adamant on its demand for setting up of a select committee, with Congress Deputy Leader Anand Sharma moving a resolution to this effect. The government lacks majority in Rajya Sabha and would need to build consensus in order to get the bill passed and made into law.

Leading clerics and scholars at the Aligarh Muslim University have described the Bill on Triple Talaq as a "blatant attempt not only to disturb Muslim society but also to cause long term damage to the genuine interests of Muslim women".

What is worse, while mere utterance of triple talaq may not dissolve the marriage, incarcerating the husband certainly will, as the enraged husband will resort to the approved Quranic form to pronounce triple talaq over a three-month period, which will leave the wife high and dry. Clearly, its a setback not only for the govt but for crores of Muslim women in the country.

Congress MP Rajiv Satav said there should be a separate ministry to deal with issues involving OBCs, who make up for over 52% of the population, and demanded that there should be more than five members in the commission to make it more representative.

"We do not believe in BJP's version of religious politics". Seven or eight parties have supported our amendments in the Rajya Sabha.

"Parliament can not be a rubber stamp of the government", Sharma said. The government can help in this process by drawing up a more comprehensive and less controversial law against instant triple talaq and avoid taking a step which would cause extreme distress to the Muslim community.

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