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LS passes Triple Talaq bill

LS passes Triple Talaq bill
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New Delhi: After a five-hour debate, Lok Sabha Thursday passed the bill which criminalises the practice of instant triple talaq, with the government rejecting the contention that it was aimed at targeting a particular community.

The opposition, which had been demanding that the bill is referred to a 'joint select committee', staged a walkout when the government rejected its demand.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 was passed by the Lower House with 245 voting in favour and 11 opposing the legislation.

The bill will now go to Rajya Sabha for approval.

Piloting the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that there should be no politics on the bill, stressing that it was not against any particular community.

"Don't weigh the bill on the scales of politics. The bill is about humanity and justice," he said, urging lawmakers of different parties to speak in one voice to support the legislation.

He regretted that opposition parties were creating hurdles in its passage due to "vote bank politics".

The new bill will supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.

Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.

In view of the opposition by some parties in the upper house, the government had then cleared some amendments, including the introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable.

Congress, TMC, AIADMK and RJD staged walkout soon after Prasad concluded his reply. Several amendments moved by the opposition were negated by a division that was insisted on by opposition members.

Responding to the demand of opposition parties, including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, that the bill is sent to a select committee for study, Prasad said the government has already taken note of concerns expressed by members earlier and amended the bill accordingly.

Prasad said the bill had made the offence compoundable, meaning that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise and that only the wife and her close relatives can file an FIR, ruling out the law's misuse.

The leader of Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said that bill was against the spirit of the Constitution and has violated several articles dealing with the rights of individuals.

Congress MP Sushmita Dev said the real purpose of the bill was not to empower Muslim women but to "penalise" Muslim men.

AIADMK leader P Venugopal, TMC's Sudip Bandhopadhyay, AIMIM's Assaduddin Owaisi and Supriya Sule (NCP) also made similar demands.

"Some people said this is a civil matter, and asked why it should be seen as a crime... But people had said the same for dowry, but parliament passed a law against it," said Union minister Smriti Irani."If a contract is being cancelled, it cannot be done unilaterally. And if it is cancelled, there are consequences," she added.

Defending the penal provisions in the bill, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was important to instil fear in the minds of those still practising it and rejected suggestions that it was against any religion. See P5

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