In a big and bold move, the BJP government cleared the ordinance route against Triple Talaq. This move will give a big relief to the Muslim women of the country. According to Republic TV, two ministers have confirmed that the Modi government is going to promulgate an ordinance in the monsoon session of Parliament against triple talaq. PM Modi discussed about the ordinance at a meeting chaired by him on Wednesday.
The government has chosen this route after a united opposition refused to let the bill pass in the upper house, asking for it to be sent to a select committee. The opposition stalled the bill with various untenable excuses such as who will pay for the wife’s upkeep if the husband is in jail. The opposition wanted to appease Muslim radical elements by keeping this legislation away. Not just the opposition parties but the liberal brigade also advocated against the triple talaq bill on the grounds that it can be misused against Muslim men.
This move has come after the Modi government approved an ordinance to award death sentence to Child Rapists under the POCSO act. The Union Cabinet cleared the ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. Later on, President Ramnath Kovind gave his nod to the ordinance.
Triple talaq bill or the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 seeks to criminalise instant divorce. If enacted, the Bill will make triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence. According to clause 3 of the Bill, “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.” Clause 4 of the Bill states, “Whoever pronounces talaq referred to in section 3 upon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and fine.” Additionally, clause 7 states, “an offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable within the meaning of the Code (The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973).” The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with most of the leading parties supporting it, including the Congress but with some reservations.
Later on, opposition parties started disrupting Upper House of the Parliament. On January 4, a united opposition stalled the triple talaq bill demanding it to be put before a select house committee. The government declined their demand on the ground that it will further delay the process.
On February 7, PM Modi had criticized the opposition for disrupting Upper House and stalling triple talaq bill. PM Modi had said, “Why are you blocking the bill for OBC Commission? Why are you blocking Triple Talaq Bill? Are you not sensitive to the aspirations of OBCs? If you feel so strongly about bringing changes to Triple Talaq Bill, then you should have brought the law yourself when you were in power for so many years. Keep women empowerment above politics (sic).”
The conduct of the Congress during the passage of the bill in Rajya Sabha demonstrates how much the Congress is dedicated to welfare of the women. They are playing politics over a regressive, repugnant, age-old anti-women practise.
The opposition employed all the cheap tricks in their quest of appeasement. However, PM Modi seems to be committed to the passage of the bill. The ordinance will bring relief to millions of Muslim women whose interests will now be safeguarded. This move, in true sense, is an exemplary step towards women empowerment.