New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday said it supports the Triple Talaq Bill, but suggested that there is a need to strengthen it legally.
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “The Indian National Congress (INC) was the first political party to welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to ban the practice of Triple Talaq and say that this is a firm step towards the protection of women’s rights. The party supports the law of banning instant Triple Talaq and we believe that there is a dire need to strengthen this law. We have certain suggestions to solidify this law in order to protect the rights of these women”.
He added that Section 5 which is proposed in this bill states that ‘subsistence allowance to be given to Muslim women’.
“But our question is how much that allowance would be and on what parameters that would be decided. Also, what percentage would it acquire from the husband’s income? These points are not mentioned in this law. We believe this part has to be mentioned and looked upon to secure the rights of minority community women,” Surjewala asserted.
He further said in Parliament’s ‘Muslim Woman Protection of Rights on Divorce Act, 1986’, Sections 3 and 4 already mention something about maintenance, but the current law does not.
“This law does not say that if the woman is given a subsistence allowance, then will she also be provided with maintenance as well. We believe that this point has to be included in the new law so that the woman is not denied maintenance by her husband which is clearly mentioned in the Sections 3 and 4 of 1986 Act,” he added.
The Congress leader further stated that under current law, the responsibility of proving Triple Talaq has been put on the woman, which puts her in a pickle, as it seems the women will be taking strolls of courts for years to prove whether the given Triple Talaq is valid or not.
“Why can’t this responsibility in support of woman be shifted to the husband? The government should give a thought on these points which will make this law more firm in nature,” he said.
Surjewala added that this law also states that the accused will be put behind bars for three years.
“But the government should think that if the man, on whom the responsibility of giving allowance and maintenance has been put, is jailed then how will the children and woman receive the service and who will be then responsible of providing that amount? Also, it is not mentioned if the woman can get hold of the property of her husband who has been arrested. If the husband does not have any property then how will the woman and children survive? These points have to be considered by the government to look into the welfare of the women,” he pointed out.
Concluding, Surjewala said, “I will again say that the Indian National Congress supports the ban on instant Triple Talaq with heart and we believe that to ensure firmness in this law for the protection of women’s right, these suggestions have to be looked upon”.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, which seeks to criminalise the practice of instant Triple Talaq was tabled in Lok Sabha today.
“This law is for women’s rights and justice and not regarding any prayer, ritual or religion,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while tabling the Bill for debate amidst noisy scenes from those opposed to it.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi opposed the bill, contending it violated fundamental rights.
“This bill violates fundamental rights and lacks legal coherence,” Owaisi argued.
Also known as the Triple Talaq Bill, the Bill draft says, “any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal”.
There is also a provision of imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and fine for violators.
The draft bill also envisages entitling divorcee Muslim women for maintenance and has a provision for them to have the custody of their minor children. The offences under the purview of this bill will be cognisable and non-bailable.
The Bill shall extend to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bill has been opposed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which requested the Central Government on Sunday to withdraw and withhold the Triple Talaq Bill, claiming that it is against women and children, and if implemented, would destroy many families.
Earlier in August, the Supreme Court had ruled that the practice of divorce through Triple Talaq among Muslims is “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.