Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been hell-bent upon enacting a law against the instant talaq system. Experts are, however, of the opinion that this will further increase the problems of Muslim women. In its second term, the government had first introduced the triple talaq bill, or the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill with the sole ambition to pass it in both the Houses.
Although it was passed in the Lok Sabha earlier, it was not passed in the Rajya Sabha due to a larger presence of the opposition party in the house, who opposed the bill. However, the arithmetic in the upper house has been gradually shifting in favor of the ruling NDA.
In Rajya Sabha, the NDA has total of 115 members, while the BJP has 78. On the other hand, the Opposition has a total of 107 members, while the Congress has 48. The NDA may, in this case, have a majority in numbers, but all the NDA allies are not in support of the triple talaq bill.
The JD(U), which has six members and the AIADMK with 13 members, are not in favor of the bill due to a ‘criminality clause’. They have claimed that their parties will neither oppose the bill nor support it.
“We can’t vote in favour of the Bill but at the same time, we can’t be seen opposing the BJP either. So in all likelihood, we shall abstain if it comes down to voting,” said a senior AIADMK leader as quoted in The Hindu.
Now, the fate of the bill will depend on the neutral parties like the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Biju Janata Dal and YSR Congress Party. These parties, having 13 members in all, has maintained that they oppose the criminality clause in the legislation. But, they are uncertain about the course of voting on the bill.
“We are opposed to the criminality clause that the government has retained but we haven’t decided what to do in case of voting,” said BJD’s Rajya Sabha floor leader, Prasanna Acharya. The party has seven members in the Rajya Sabha.
The TRS, which has two members, also has a similar stance. The party wants to not be seen as opposing the BJP and hence it may abstain from voting as well.
“We oppose the criminality clause, but as far as voting is concerned, we will make up our mind when the legislation reaches Rajya Sabha,” said TRS’s Keshav Rao.
Navaid Hamid, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat (AIMMM), feels that those who are abstaining from the voting are indirectly helping the BJP to pass the bill. According to him, the fate of the bill will also depend on the other parties like the Lok Janshakti Party, who did not give their opinion about the bill so far.
However, he believes that the BJP will leave no stone unturned to pass the bill as they want to “harass, demonize and create a monster out of Muslims in the public eye”. He said that by passing the bill, they want to show that they have succeeded to “demonize” the Muslim man and subsequently, Islamic groups.
He also said that it is a long-term battle, firmly believing BJP will not be able to enact the law so easily.
“If they succeed to bring in the law, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board may move to the Supreme Court against the same. Only time will tell what would happen”, he said.