‘Triple talaq Bill has nothing to do with Uniform Civil Code’

Ravi Shankar Prasad (File Photo)

New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) The Bill on triple talaq passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday has nothing to do with the Uniform Civil Code, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday, insisting that the Bill was about gender justice and dignity.

Prasad was replying to a debate on The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, in which several opposition members suggested that through this Bill, the government is actually trying to move towards a Uniform Civil Code — which seeks to replace personal laws with a common set of rules.

“It is not about common civil code… This is just about triple talaq. The issue of Uniform Civil Code is with the Law Commission so there is no point in talking about that,” Prasad said.

“This law is about gender justice and gender dignity.”

Opposition members pointed out the several flaws in the Bill, and questioned the provision for a three-year jail term being prescribed for men who may practice triple talaq, pointing that it was a civil law and not a criminal law.

The Law Minister dismissed the argument, saying that jail term is also there as punishment in laws like that of against fraudulent marriage.

On how a man would provide maintenance to his divorced wife — required as per the law — if he is jailed, Prasad said the man may not get bail in police station but can do it through a magistrate.

He also said that under this law, the magistrate will have the power to fix the fine as well as maintenance amount which has not been elaborated upon in the Bill.

Prasad claimed that the Bill has the support of Muslim women. “I can’t change the draft of the Bill because some people don’t like it. The Muslim women are liking the Bill,” he said.

The Minister in the course of his reply said the Narendra Modi government believed in ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ (development for everyone), which the opposition MPs mocked by taking names of victims of public lynchings like 2015 Dadri mob lynching victim Mohammad Akhlaq and 15-year-old Junaid who was stabbed to death on a Delhi-Mathura train in June this year.

Several opposition MPs including Sushmita Dev, Asadudding Owaisi, N.K. Premchandran, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary, Bhartruhari Mahtab and A. Sampath moved amendments to the Bill which were all defeated.