The upper house of the Indian Parliament, on Tuesday, gave its nod to the Triple Talaq bill after a long debate. The triple talaq bill follows a Supreme Court judgement, passed in August of 2017, which declared the practice of instant divorce by uttering ‘talaq’ three times in one sitting as void and unconstitutional.
Put to vote in the Rajya Sabha, the bill was passed with a majority of 99 to 84 votes. The bill that provides for an imprisonment term for Muslim men who get divorced in this way was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 25. The bill had passed smoothly through the lower house, despite fierce opposition as the ruling government enjoys a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha. However, the bill was expected to face obstacles in the Rajya Sabha for the opposition has the upper hand in this house.
The total strength of the upper house before the bill was passed was 242. However, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) restrained from voting. At least 14 lawmakers from different parties including Arun Jaitley, Sharad Pawar, Oscar Fernandes and Praful Patel were absent which brought down the strength of the house to 205 working in favour of the government.
The opposition parties had demanded the bill be sent to a select committee for deliberation and scrutiny, as the proposed law could be misused for victimizing Muslims. AIADMK lawmaker Navneet Krishna commented, “We walked out of Rajya Sabha because the government did not accept our demand to send the Triple Talaq Bill to a Select Committee. We believe that parliament does not have the legislative competency to make such a law. It will not withstand judicial scrutiny.”
The Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, remarked that 20 Islamic countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia have outlawed Triple Talaq as well. After the bill was passed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that this was a victory for gender justice as the archaic practice doing wrong to Muslim women had been confined to the dustbin of history.