The Triple Talaq Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with with 99 MPs voting in support and 84 voting against the Bill.

AIADMK makes a show of opposing Triple Talaq bill but helps govt pass itRepresentative image
news Parliament Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 19:22

The controversial Triple Talaq Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, with 99 MPs voting in support and 84 voting against the Bill. Outlawing the practice of instant divorce among Muslims, the Bill penalizes husbands who indulge in it with a jail term of three years. While the AIADMK made a show of opposing the Bill in the House, the walk-out staged by MPs of the party ensured that the Bill failed to get enough support for referral to a select committee. 

The YSRCP  also stated that they will be opposing the Bill. On Tuesday, one out of the total two MPs the party has in the House was present for the vote and is presumed to have voted against the Bill. YSRCP MP Vijayasai Reddy had earlier said that his party would oppose the Bill.

Though the AIADMK had said that it will oppose the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the party staged a walkout before the voice vote. This ensured that the Bill did not get enough ‘Nos’ during the vote. Had the 11 AIADMK MPs voted against the Bill, it would not have been passed or would have been sent to a select committee, which is what most opposition members wanted.

AIADMK's Rajya Sabha Floor Leader A Navaneethakrishnan had said that his party would oppose the Bill and asked that it be sent to the select committee for further consideration.

"It is unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal and not sustainable under the law. The Parliament has no administrative competency to entertain this Bill...This Bill will not stand judicial scrutiny," he had said. He had also stated that the issue of custody of minor children as a result of the talaq, could not be entrusted to a magistrate. "The welfare of the minor child is totally ignored in this Bill," he added. 

Earlier this week, AIADMK’s lone MP in the Lok Sabha OP Raveendranath Kumar, who is also the son of Deputy CM O Paneerselvam had supported the Bill, saying, "...given the right opportunities, women will achieve great successes and reach heights. Social practices like these should not be forced on them as they become impediments to their development.” 

This was in contadiction to the stand taken by the party in December 2018, when the party had staged a walkout over the Bill, terming it ‘barbaric’.  

The AIADMK’s conflicting stand over the Triple Talaq Bill is reflective of the feud within the party between the factions belonging to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam.

DMK's Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi slammed the AIADMK, tweeting, "It’s a shame that AIADMK walked out to facilitate the passing of the triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha."

Meanwhile, from the YSRCP, MP Vijayasai Reddy stated that the party opposes the Bill on six counts. 

"The Bill defines 'talaq' as talaq-e-biddat or any similar form of talaq which when pronounced by a Muslim man, results in instant and irrevocable divorce. When the divorce is declared as invalid and unlawful and there is no divorce even after saying triple talaq, why is there punishment for a non-existent act?" Vijayasai Reddy said. 

"The Bill is also very stringent and makes talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence. The harsh punishment of three years imprisonment is against the doctrine of proportionality of jurisprudence," he added.

The YSRCP MP also pointed out that sending the accused to prison "virtually shuts the doors for any possibility of reconciliation."

"How will the husband pay for the maintenance of wife when he is put behind bars for a period of three years? In many poor families, the husband is the sole earner, and putting him in jail will bring the financial crisis in the family. It will not solve the problem," Vijayasai Reddy said. 

Pointing out that Muslim marriages were civil contracts and by criminalizing this, the Bill sought criminal remedy to a civil contract, the YSRCP MP also argued that there was no need of a fresh criminal provision because sections of the IPC and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, already exist. 

"Under Section 5 of Bill, the wife is allowed to seek subsistent allowance. Why not beyond that? Triple Talaq is a social evil, and criminalizing it will not solve the problem," Vijayasai Reddy concluded, stating that the YSRCP would oppose the Bill. 

The TRS, TDP, JD(U), and BSP MPs were not present in the Rajya Sabha at the time of voting.

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