The Congress and AIADMK staged a walkout in Lok Sabha, when their demand for a joint select committee on Triple Talaq was rejected by the government. However, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 was ultimately passed in the Lok Sabha.
It will now be placed in the upper house now.
Highlights 27 December 2018 from office of AICC
Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, MP, Ms. Sushmita Dev, MP and Smt. Ranjeet Ranjan, MP participated in the debate on Triple Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha, today.
श्री मल्लिकार्जुन खड़गे ने कहा कि मेरी आपसे एक ही विनती है। यह एक बहुत ही महत्वपूर्ण बिल है और इसके डिटेल में जाना जरूरी है। खासकर, जब कांस्टीट्यूशन 13(2), कांस्टीट्यूशन आर्टिकल 14, 15, 21 और 29 का वायलेशन होता है, तो इसीलिए ये कांस्टीट्यूशनल मैटर भी है। एक धर्म के अंदर सरकार इंटरफियर करके कानून बनाए, यह किस हद तक ठीक है? तो इसकी जांच वही लोग कर सकते हैं। इसीलिए मैं आपसे रिक्वेस्ट करता हूं और गवर्नमेंट से भी रिक्वेस्ट करता हूं कि इसको ज्वाइंट सेलेक्ट कमेटी को आप भेजिए।
मैडम, अगर आप ज्वाइंट सेलेक्ट कमेटी को रेफर करेंगे, तो उनको आप एक महीने का टाईम दीजिए, पंन्द्रह दिनों का टाईम दीजिए। So, smoothly, this Bill will come out. Otherwise, what will happen is this. यह important है, इसलिए मैं बता रहा हूँ, क्योंकि ये कम से कम 15-20 करोड़ महिलाओं से संबंधित है और उनकी रक्षा एक तरफ है और दूसरी तरफ 25-30 करोड़ माइनॉरिटीज की समस्या भी है। इसलिए इसको सुलझाना है तो मैं आपसे विनती करता हूँ कि इसे ज्वाइंट सेलेक्ट कमेटी को भेजा जाए।
Ms Sushmita Dev said- अगर महिला के सम्मान का सवाल है, महिला की गरिमा का सवाल है, हमारी पार्टी की तरफ से कोई एतराज नहीं है, पर हमें मुँह में राम और बगल में छुरी से एतराज है और इसलिए ये बहुत बेहद जरुरी है कि इस बिल को संयुक्त पार्लियामेंट्री सलेक्ट कमेटी में भेजा जाए। Madam, this Bill was introduced on 22nd of December 2017. You remember Madam; it was introduced at 12 in the afternoon. You told us to debate it at 2.30 and we debated it at 2.30. उस दिन के डिबेट में, We raised certain objections which the Hon’ble Law Minister in his wisdom feels, he has met it but we stand by that those apprehensions, those fears, those objections have not been met by the new amendments that have been brought by the 2018 ordinance.
Madam, the first thing we had said in the Lok Sabha when it had first debated the 2017 Bill that we oppose a matter which is clearly and purely a matter of civil jurisdiction that is being criminalized. We had stated that time that criminalization of instant ‘Triple Talaq’ goes against the very basis of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in Shayara Bano case. Let me explain myself Madam why, what is it the Supreme Court said – the instant ‘triple talaq’ is void, is unconstitutional and is discriminatory. It is un-Islamic for the simple reason; it is a unilateral act on the part of a man without giving the woman any opportunity, whatsoever to reconcile her marriage.
I am surprised to see that repeatedly when this Government states in its objects/reasons by this Bill and the Bill of the Government is acting at the behest of Supreme Court judgment. I am pained to say that despite the fact that the Law Minister is himself a lawyer, he has completely misread the Supreme Court judgment and in support of that I would like to point out that when he replied to my arguments in last December, Madam, he categorically quoted minority judgment out of which one Judge said that as per Article 25, it is not for the Court to review a practice which exists in Islam but it is for the Parliament to legislate. Nowhere in that 300 page judgment, the Court had said that the instant ‘Triple Talaq’ needs to be criminalized.
It is very easy, it is every easy to give a lecture on empowerment of Muslim women and let me take this opportunity to say, it is not the first time, the Parliament is legislating on the right of Muslim women. We saw what happened after the 1985 case of Shah Bano. In 1986, when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India, he introduced the Right of Muslims Women Act on divorce. Today, another landmark judgment has come and another Government is seeking to pass a Law which is talking about the rights of the Muslim women on marriage.
I would like to point out here that if this Government sincerely believes that they want to empower the Muslim women, I do not need, I do not need to go very far all over India to look at what is the status of Muslim women. I look at Shah Bano and I look at Shayara Bano. The two women who will always be remembered by this country for bringing a matter to the Supreme Court, which led to landmark decision. Madam, Shah Bano’s case is what- She was being paid maintenance of Rs. 200 pm. While she was married, her husband stopped that maintenance. She invoked Section 125 under Cr. P. C. and she asked maintenance to continue. How does her husband react? Her husband instantly issued a ‘Talaqnama’ and gives her ‘Mehar’ and arrears and says my duties are over. Let us look at Shayara Bano. Let us look at Shayara Bano who Hon’ble Law Minister keeps praising, what is the history and life of Shayara Bano. 15 years, she suffered from domestic violence. Her husband tried to poison her, her husband demanded dowry from her, her husband did not let her meet family members, the children. Shayara Bano left her matrimonial home and she went back to her parents’ house. Her husband filed in Conjugal Rights in the Allahabad High Court. She opposed that! Madam, please understand Shayara Bano opposed. She said I will not go back to my husband because I fear my life. There is threat to my life. What does the husband do – in response to a civil jurisdiction case; he issues the ‘Talaqnama’ and what this Government is doing. Please learn from Shah Bano and Shayara Bano case that today what you are giving to Muslim women, in the name of women empowerment you are giving nothing but a criminal case, nothing but a criminal case. Will the husband reconcile, let the Hon’ble Law Minister answer that.
Madam, if we are talking of women empowerment. आपने महिला के सम्मान और महिला के अधिकार के बारे में कहा, मैं इस सरकार से पूछना चाहती हूं, आपने इस एक्ट में subsistence शब्द का इस्तेमाल किया, What is the definition of ‘subsistence’? Today there is no definition of ‘subsistence’. If you look at the oxford dictionary, definition ‘subsistence’, it says the bare minimum resources by which a person can stay alive. Today, what you are doing in the name of women empowerment is you are giving the husband a right to subvert much greater rights, which are under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005. Today you are giving a Muslim husband under this new Ordinance an opportunity to say that I will not go under Section 125 which Shah Bano gave and which the 1986 Act gave by saying that I will give you only mere ‘subsistence’.
During the last occasion in Lok Sabha, we have said that talk about the ‘subsistence’ of Muslim women, you did not and let me put it on record today Madam, if anybody, if any law in the history of this country, has given a Muslim woman on divorce, the most progressive right, it is the Act that Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India brought in 1986 और मैं एक कांग्रेस सांसद होने के नाते ये नहीं बोल रही हूं, सुप्रीम कोर्ट की बात आज जो सदन में हो रही है, I quote the case of Danial Latifi case judgment- 2001 and in that the Court has said not once but repeatedly that the 1986 Act that followed the Shah Bano judgment of 1985 is not only constitutional, but it gives our women, a divorced woman – the right to maintenance of her for her entire life time and not only that, it is time bound, it must be given within three months. So, I request the Law Minister that take a leaf from Rajiv Ji’s legislation and define subsistence. Please define subsistence, tell the Muslim women, tell ‘Shayara Bano’, tell ‘Shah Bano’ that she will not be paid Rs. 75 and Rs. 200 in a month. What is the definition of subsistence? There is absolutely no explanation to that.
Madam, last but not the least, in Muslim law, in Islam Law, all of us know and the Hon’ble Law Minister is a lawyer himself that in Muslim Law, a marriage is a contract. A marriage is a contract just like in other laws but Madam, today, when a contract is broken, it is civil wrong, is a civil law. I would like to ask Hon’ble Law Minister that today you are saying that if a man pronounces instant ‘triple talaq’, it is a criminal offence. I take the Law Minister to Hindu Marriage Act 1955 which governs Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist and Jains. I take the Minister to Divorce Act 1869 which governs Christians. I take you to the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936. I ask you what happens to deserted women in every other religion. She has a right to file for divorce. The minimum waiting period is two years of desertion. Thereafter, she can file for divorce or if she wants an immediate relief, she has to file for restitution of conjugal rights. What is different here today when it comes to a Muslim male, you are criminalizing it, this law is not about empowering a Muslim woman; this law is about penalizing a Muslim man. And if this Government is true, if this government is true to its commitment to ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’, please tell us what will the Bill give Shayara Bano? Nothing, it is giving her criminal case in the Court. That is all. All you are doing is keeping Shayara Bano married to a husband; the same husband who filed for restitution of conjugal rights which Shayara Bano opposed it, refused to go back to her husband. Today all you are doing is you are giving her a criminal proceeding without any subsistence whatsoever.
I want to ask Ravi Shankar Prasad Ji आज अगर गुजरात की कोई महिला अगर उसका पति उसको छोड़ दे और गुजरात हाई कोर्ट में कोई ऐसा पेटिशन हो या सुप्रीम कोर्ट में आए कि मेरे पति के विरुद्ध क्रिमिनल ऑफेंस कर दीजिए, मुझे desertion किया, क्या रविशंकर प्रसाद जी करेंगे? नहीं करेंगे। Because he understands what is civil; is civil, what is criminal is criminal. It is absolutely imperative. If this Government truly believes in empowerment of a Muslim woman, let this Bill go to the Appropriate Committee. Listen to the stakeholders; listen to the women, people who are impacted. Listen to the men who will be impacted. Listen to the voice of the people. All of us who sit here, we have no right to play ‘Messiah’. We are representatives of the people and we must listen to the people and I urge the Hon’ble Government, I urge the Law Minister to do the right thing, send it to the Appropriate Committee failing which this Bill should be withdrawn. We oppose the criminalization of ‘Triple Talaq’ and we will support every ‘subsistence’ right, every right of empowerment that will not only be giving to Muslim women but to every woman in the country. With these words, I end my speech.