As Triple Talaq bill awaits Rajya Sabha nod, government says open to 'constructive suggestions'

Several opposition parties and Muslim bodies are oppoosed to Triple Talaq bill.

As Triple Talaq bill awaits Rajya Sabha nod, government says open to 'constructive suggestions'

NEW DELHI: Amid stiff resistance to the Triple Talaq Bill, which awaits clearance from Rajya Sabha, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday said that it was receptive about any "constructive suggestions'' by the Opposition on the controversial bill.

The response came from Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad when questioned as to why the NDA government was not accepting the Opposition demand to refer the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 to a Select Committee of Parliament for scrutiny. 

"Our decision will be decided on the floor of the House when I speak there. We have already improved a lot of things. A Select Committee is important, but the plight of victim women is equally important. I would appeal to the MPs to listen to their plight," Prasad said.

"We have no ego in...But the thing is that whatever is needed to be improved has been done. If they (Opposition) have a constructive suggestion, they can give us. We are open to considering them. But they did not give any suggestion in the Lok Sabha," he added.

During the discussion on the Bill in Lok Sabha, the Opposition, and even the fence sitters such as the AIADMK and BJD, unanimously demanded that the Bill be referred to a joint committee for scrutiny.

The government did not yield to the demand and got the Bill passed after a four-hour debate.

When the Bill came up for discussion and passage in Rajya Sabha on December 31, the Opposition pressed for voting on the Bill whether it should be sent to a select committee of the House. 

The voting could not take place due to din and subsequent adjournment.

Slamming the main opposition party Congress, Prasad said, "From Shah Bano to Shayara Bano, the Congress party`s attitude has been the same. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi is a woman herself. I would appeal the party should think of the victim women."

In view of stiff resistance to the bill, PM Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that Triple Talaq is a matter of gender equality while referring to a question on the entry of women in Kerala's Sabarimala temple, which, he said, was related to age-old tradition.

Talking to ANI, Prime Minister tried to clear the air on BJP`s apparent contradiction in its stand on the controversial Triple Talaq Ordinance and the ban on entry of women between the age group of (10-50 years) in the Sabarimala Temple by saying the Ordinance against Triple Talaq was brought keeping in mind gender equality and social justice and it should not be seen as interference in religious issues.

"Triple Talaq Ordinance was brought after Supreme Court verdict. We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the Constitution," Prime Minister Modi said.

"Most Islamic countries have banned Triple Talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. Even in Pakistan, Triple Talaq is banned. So it is an issue of gender equality, a matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith. So keep the two separate," the PM said.

Amid a walkout by some opposition parties, the Triple Talaq Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with the support of 245 votes against 11 on December 27, 2018.

The Triple Talaq Bill makes the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a criminal offence with a provision of three-year jail term for the erring husband.