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Rediff.com  » News » Centre to Rahul: Let's also pass triple talaq, nikah halala bills

Centre to Rahul: Let's also pass triple talaq, nikah halala bills

Source: PTI
July 17, 2018 22:16 IST
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Seeking to corner the Congress on the issue of women empowerment, the government on Tuesday urged it to provide women with a 'new deal' of equality and adequate representation by joining hands to pass the bills on women's reservation, instant triple talaq and nikah halala in Parliament.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, whose ministry deals with issues of reservation in legislatures and personal laws, was on Tuesday responding to a letter by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in the bill on granting 33 per cent quota to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

 

He wrote to Gandhi suggesting that the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party join hands to get the three bills, as well as the measure on providing constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes, passed in Parliament.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament begins on Wednesday.

Prasad also attacked the previous United Progressive Alliance government for letting the women's reservation bill, introduced by it, lapse.

'... the government would like to understand fully the reasons why the bill was not taken up for three years by the UPA government in the Lok Sabha and allowed to lapse,' he said.

He said despite the disruptions in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance stood in support of the bill.

The Congress often attacked the government for not bringing the women's reservation bill in Lok Sabha, even though four out of five years of its term had been completed.

He also asked Gandhi to clarify whether all UPA allies and other opposition parties, who were coordinating with the Congress, would also support the bill and not disrupt House proceedings 'as they had done on earlier occasion when the bill was brought to Parliament'.

Gandhi had on Monday written to Modi asking him to ensure the passage of the women's reservation bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, starting July 18.

In his letter, Gandhi had offered his party's unconditional support to the bill and said the time had come for a change, and for women to take their rightful place in state legislatures and Parliament.

Prasad said as national parties 'we cannot have two sets of standards in dealing women and their rights'.

He said that as Gandhi had shown "deep concern" for women's reservation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies to deal with the challenge of their inadequate representation, "I propose that both the national parties, the BJP and the Congress, should come together and offer a new deal to Indian women to ensure equality and adequate representation".

The minister said that as part of the new deal, 'we should approve in both Houses of Parliament, the women's reservation bill, the law prohibiting (instant) triple talaq..., and the law prohibiting nikah halala'.

Prasad said the practice of triple talaq and nikah halala had not only given Muslim women an unequal treatment but also seriously compromised their dignity.

'We are already too late in conferring the right of adequate representation, equality in personal laws and doing away with such provisions which compromise women's dignity,' the minister said.

He also sought the Congress' support in passing a bill which sought to grant constitutional status to the National Commission of Backward Classes.

'It also deserves your party's unqualified support for assured passage,' he said, adding that the government awaited an early response from the Congress chief.

The bill on banning instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) was passed in the Lok Sabha and pending approval of the the Rajya Sabha where government lacks numbers.

It made instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband.

The government was yet to bring bills on women's reservation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. A bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha but lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

The legal validity of nikah halala would be examined by the Supreme Court.

Under nikah halala, a man could not remarry his former wife unless she marries another man, consummates the marriage, gets a divorce and observes a period of separation period called 'iddat'.

The government had told the top court that its was against the practice as it was against gender justice.

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