190725 Ravi Shankar Prasad
Ravi Shankar Prasad Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi : Lok Sabha on Thursday took up for consideration the contentious bill to make the practice of instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband.

Moving the bill for consideration, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the legislation was a must for gender equality and justice as despite an August 2017 Supreme Court verdict striking down the practice of instant triple talaq, women are being divorced by ‘talaq-e-biddat’.

He said, since January 2017, as many as 574 triple talaq cases and since the Supreme Court order, more than 300 such cases were reported by the media.

“Under this circumstances, what should we do? Should we allow Muslim women to be continued to be exploited,” he said.

20 Muslim countries in the world, including Pakistan and Malaysia, have banned the triple talaq. Why can’t a secular India do it?

- Ravi Shankar Prasad | Law Minister

The law minister said 20 Muslim countries in the world, including Pakistan and Malaysia, have banned the triple talaq. “Why can’t a secular India do it?,” he asked.

Opposing the bill, RSP member N K Premachandra said the bill has been brought with an “ulterior political motive to target the Muslim community” and “specific political agenda of the BJP”.

“You are bringing the bill on the basis of the minority judgement of the court. If you have so much of concern, why don’t you bring a legislation to end the incidents of mob lynching. What is your stand on Sarbarimala temple,” he asked.

Premachandran said the ordinance on the subject was a “fraud on the Constitution” as a civil matter is being converted into a criminal matter.

“How can a jailed husband give compensation to the wife,” he said.

He also said there is no provision of imprisonment for divorce in Hindu and Christian communities.

“This is not a move to protect Muslim women but to harass Muslim husbands,” he said.

Prasad said there were three different judgements of the five-judge bench of the court and in one of the judgements, the court said Triple Talaq is part of the ‘Shariah’ and a law should be enacted to end the practice.

“The core philosophy of our Constitution is gender justice, irrespective of religion. We want to give honour and justice to the women,” he said.