NEW DELHI: The women's rights group spearheading the movement against instant triple talaq called the passage of the bill on it in the Lok Sabha as "historic", while some others said it was a "sad day" and termed the move "shocking".
The Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill by voice vote. The bill makes instant triple talaq null and void and makes its pronouncement punishable by up to three years in jail. It will be a non- bailable, cognizable offence.
Bharatiya Muslima Mahila Andolan, which was one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court on the issue of talaq-e- biddat, said that Lok Sabha proceedings today indicate that Muslim women's voices have been heard across the political spectrum.
"What is historic is that the Congress party also supported it. Both the government and the key opposition party are on board. Congress acknowledged the need for a law (on instant triple talaq). It is symbolic of the fact that Muslim women's voices have now been heard across the political class -- that is a big achievement in itself," said Zakia Soman, co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
She added that the absence of a law against the practice of instant triple talaq was "a huge lacuna".
"Until now a big section of the citizenry -- the Muslim women -- were denied legal protection, which is not acceptable," Soman told PTI over phone from Mumbai.
She, however, added that if the bill lays down the procedure of giving talaq and makes talaq-e-biddat non- cognizable it will be a good move.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was a counsel for Bebaak Collective on the issue of triple talaq in Supreme Court, however, expressed her shock over its passage in the Lower House of Parliament.
"Very shocked to hear that Lok Sabha has passed the bill.
I would have expected the bill to go to the Standing Committee before it came to the Lok Sabha, which was not done," Jaising said.
She added that she was opposed to criminalisation of triple talaq.
"I would say that some of our worst fears have come true. That the intention of the government was not to protect these women but to re-victimise them. This bill is patently discriminatory and unconstitutional and it should be challenged," the senior lawyer added.
She has also questioned the provisions for a subsistence allowance as well as custody of children in cases of triple talaq, saying these are redundant if the divorce has been invalidated.
Sadhna Arya, representing a women's collective called Saheli, said, "Earlier there were killings in the name of Love Jihad, now it will take place in the name of triple talaq. It is a sad moment." She added that she never expected the bill to be passed in a day in the Lok Sabha.
The president of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB), Shaista Amber, welcomed the tabling of the bill but insisted that it should be in the light of Quran.
"We welcome the tabling of the bill and this has given lots of hope to the women as triple talaq is an evil which has been haunting them," she said.
Amber, however, added that any law enacted in this regard should be in the light of the Quran and the Constitution to make it acceptable to the community.