New Delhi: Passing an ordinance to make triple talaq a punishable offence, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday accused the Congress of stalling the Triple Talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha for “pure vote bank politics”.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, addressing the media, launched a scathing attack on Sonia Gandhi, accusing the UPA chairperson of not supporting the proposed law despite being a woman.
“It’s my serious charge with full sense of responsibility that a distinguished woman leader is ultimate leader of the Congress, yet barbaric inhuman Triple Talaq was not allowed to be ended by a Parliamentary law for pure vote bank politics,” said Prasad.
Describing the practice as “barbaric and inhuman”, he said nearly 22 countries have regulated triple talaq. However, gender justice was given a complete go-by in a secular country like India because of blatant vote bank politics.
“I will again appeal to Sonia ji that this ordinance has been brought in the interest of the country to bring gender justice. I appeal to you to rise above vote bank politics and help pass it in the interest of justice for women,” he told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
Prasad said there was a “compelling necessity and an overpowering urgency” to approve the Ordinance, adding that the government tried to get Congress’ support on the law on five different occasions, but its efforts went in vein.
“We tried a lot to bring Congress with us. On Prime Minister’s direction, me and Ananth Kumar met Ghulam Nabi Azad and other Congress leaders several times regarding the passage of bill. Congress didn’t support us just for the sake of its vote bank politics,” he said.
“I have said this before, the issue of triple talaq has nothing to do with faith, mode of worship or religion. It is a pure issue of gender justice, gender dignity and gender equality,” he added.
The move by the government came after the Triple Talaq Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year, could not be taken up for discussion and passage in the Rajya Sabha in the Budget and Monsoon Sessions after the Congress-led opposition expressed reservations about the criminal provisions in the draft law.
The BJP accused the Congress of stonewalling the passage of the Triple Talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
To make the proposed law palatable to the opposition, the government last month brought three amendments to The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act. According to the new amendments, while the law remains “non-bailable”, the accused can approach the Magistrate to seek bail even before trial.