Mudda debates bill, wonders why a civil offence should be turned into a criminal one, status-quoist speakers prioritise women’s security and maintenance over dignity, justice
Without majority in the Rajya Sabha, the government might have to send the landmark bill which seeks to make instant triple talaq a criminal offence with up to three years in jail to a parliamentary committee for review. The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Bill 2017 was passed last week by the Lok Sabha but the Congress is opposing it vehemently in the Upper House.
Thursday’s Mudda, the daily current affairs show of APN, debated the bill. Moderated by Anant Tyagi, the guests were Congress spokesperson Ajay Verma, SP leader Manoj Yadav, BJP spokesperson Chandrabhushan Pandey, Muslim religious leader Maulana Yasub Abbas, social activist Nahid Akil, senior advocate of Supreme Court SP Singh and consulting editor of APN Govind Pant Raju.
Verma said: “If this bill criminalises instant triple talaq, the husband will go to jail. The question is where will the wife go after her husband is jailed for three years? How will she feed her family?”
Yadav said the Samajwadi Party supports the bill for it is gross injustice to give talaq to women without even considering their view. He added: “The government did not hold proper discussions before tabling the bill. They did not discuss it with the Muslim law board. We must note that this is a civil matter. It is not right to make it a criminal offence.”
Maulana Abbas, however, said that the practice should be made a criminal offence. He said: “The All India Shia Personal Law Board is trying since 2007 to give justice to women. We had presented our model to the government in 2007 where we gave women the right to divorce. But it has not been passed in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition is playing vote bank politics here. They will lose Muslim votes if such a bill is passed.”
Akil opposed the bill. She said: “No one has ever thought about the rights of women. If the government, opposition and the Muslim personal law board were concerned about our rights, they would have shown this urgency to pass the women’s reservation bill. I want justice for all women. This bill is no good. The repercussions will be worse. Men will start giving talaq to women and women will come on the streets as a result of it. The issue is being politicised which shouldn’t be the case.”
Pandey defended his party’s stand and said this bill is what the citizens want. He said: “We talked with women and all the stakeholders. We want this injustice to end. The opposition is not interested in any discussion. They are opposing it to strengthen their vote bank.”
Raju also said the Congress is opposing it for political reasons, not the welfare of women. He said: “The Congress is dividing the nation on the basis of religion. Talks on the model Nikhanama had begun 20 years ago. Till date it has not seen any progress.”
Singh said making it a criminal offence is wrong. He said: “I believe punishment should be given but it should be less than what is given for criminal offences in our country. It should not be more than three years… This is a social reform. No need to make it a political topic of discussion.”
Compiled by Usha Rani Das