NEW DELHI: The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is listed for introduction in the Rajya Sabha by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday, according to the list of business of the Upper House. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has even issued a three-line whip for all its MPs to remain present in Parliament on January 2 and 3.
However, as per reports, the tabling of the triple talaq bill in the upper house of Parliament may get delayed to Wednesday to give the ruling party an opportunity to try and build consensus on the matter after a long weekend. This comes after the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
According to the sources, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad has convened a meeting of the leaders of his party (Congress) as well as other parties in his Parliament chamber today, before the bill is taken up.
The sources added that while the Congress was in favour of the bill as it proposed to ban instant triple talaq, whether it would press for sending it to the Select Committee, as has been the practice in the Rajya Sabha, is to be seen later in the day.
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The party might press for amendments in the bill, including a clause for maintenance to the Muslim women and making it mandatory for the man to prove that triple talaq had not been invoked, the sources said.
The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), which was a petitioner in the Supreme Court against instant triple talaq, has written a letter to lawmakers, demanding that the bill include the ‘Talaq-e-Ahsan’ method of divorce in which arbitration is mandatory and lasts for minimum 90 days before the beginning of the divorce process.
“The Bill must include the Talaq-e-Ahsan (divorce through arbitration) method of divorce. This method must be made available to both husband and wife so that the marriage is dissolved without injustice to women,” the letter states.
While the bill declares triple talaq unlawful, it does not prescribe a legal method for seeking divorce.
It allows the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself. She can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
The letter has been sent to all Rajya Sabha MPs as well as to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.
The letter has also been sent to Law Minister Prasad, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
BMMA has also demanded a codified Muslim family law, based on the Quran, which includes matters such as the age of marriage, registration of marriage, polygamy, mehr, custody of children and inheritance.
The BMMA is a national coalition of Muslim women, with over one lakh members across 15 states.
Meanwhile, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has claimed that various Muslim bodies in the country would move the Supreme Court if the bill is also passed by the Rajya Sabha.
The bill could get stalled in the Rajya Sabha where government lacks a majority and it may be referred to a parliamentary committee for its review.