New Delhi [India]: Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday termed the Congress party’s opposition to the controversial Triple Talaq Bill as “a matter of great distress.”
“It was a matter of great distress that the Congress chose to oppose the introduction of Triple Talaq Bill. Earlier they had not opposed it. Last time they had walked out from the Lok Sabha. But today they were siding with the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi, who were opposing it,” Prasad told reporters here.
The Minister said that it is painful to see the Congress party taking an anti-woman stand in the House on the Bill even when Sonia Gandhi is the Parliamentary party’s chairperson.
“A woman leader like Sonia Gandhi ji is the leader of the Congress party. Yet the Congress party takes an anti-woman position in the Lok Sabha by opposing even the introduction of the Bill. I must say it is not only painful but deeply regrettable,” he said.
Prasad reiterated that the issue was not an issue of religion but of women’s empowerment and justice.
“We have always stated that the Triple Talaq is neither an issue of religion nor of prayer nor of any other communal consideration. It is a pure and simple issue of women’s justice, dignity, and empowerment,” he said.
The controversial Triple Talaq Bill was introduced on Friday in the Lok Sabha amid a huge uproar from the Opposition parties, which are against criminalising the offence.
The Opposition raised strong objections at the introduction of the Bill itself. After a brief discussion, the motion for tabling the bill was put to vote. As many as 186 members voted for the introduction of the Bill and 74 against.
Speaker Om Birla then allowed Prasad to introduce the Bill.
“The rights of Muslim women will be protected. It is about justice and empowerment of women. People have chosen us to make laws. It is our work to make laws. Law is to give justice to the victims of Triple Talaq,” Prasad had said in the House.
There was a commotion in the Lok Sabha when the minister sought to introduce the Bill. The Speaker had to intervene to let the Minister speak on the Bill amid the ruckus.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the Bill does nothing to improve the status of Muslim women. AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, on the other hand, argued that the Bill places the burden of proof on women.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, seeks to replace an ordinance by the government in February and to make instant triple talaq a penal offence.
Last year, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, was passed in the Lok Sabha but it lapsed after the dissolution of previous Lok Sabha with the bill pending in the Rajya Sabha.