New Delhi: In a massive victory for PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the Triple Talaq bill, finally received the nod of the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, which makes the practice of instant Triple Talaq a penal offence, was cleared by the House with 99 votes in favour and 84 opposing it.

While BJD supported the legislation, NDA’s allies JD-U and AIADMK walked out, lowering the majority mark which normally stands at 121. Besides, the NDA was also backed by the absence of some members of SP and BSP as well as those of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR-Congress.

(Also read: ‘Triple Talaq Bill About Justice, Don’t Apply Political Lens,’ Says Ravi Shankar Prasad)

“Today is a historic day. Both the Houses have given justice to the Muslim women. This is the beginning of a transforming India,” said Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who tabled the Bill in the upper house.

Replying to a four-and-half-hour debate on the Bill, Prasad cited jail provisions in the legislations that ban dowry and multiple marriages by Hindu men to justify the three-year jail term for Muslim men practices triple talaq.

To Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, who termed the bill as a politically motivated move to destroy Muslim households with domestic fights, the minister said the Congress leader should think of why his party could never win majority following the peak of 400-plus seats it won in 1984.

‘Minister of Narendra Modi Government And Not Rajiv Gandhi’

Citing the Shah Bano case of 1986, Prasad said ,”I am a minister of Narendra Modi government and not Rajiv Gandhi government.” Furthermore, he asserted that he cannot leave in lurch women who have been divorced by triple talaq via WhatsApp or other such means. When Muslim world is trying to reform, why can’t a democracy do the same, he asked.

Rejecting Opposition’s charge of targeting Muslims, the law minister said BJP may be getting a little less votes from the community but it considers them very much a part of the country and works on the principle of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’.

‘India Rejoices Today’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted that it was a victory of gender justice. “An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to dustbin of history! Parliament abolishes Triple Talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society. India rejoices today!,” PM wrote on micro-blogging site.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said,”Today is a great day for India’s democracy. I congratulate PM for fulfilling his commitment&ensuring a law to ban Triple Talaq, which will free Muslim women from curse of this regressive practice. I thank all parties who supported this historic bill.”

He added, “I thank all parties and MPs who have supported the passage of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 in both Houses of Parliament. They have risen to the occasion and this step of theirs will forever be remembered in India’s history.”

He further tweeted, “This is an occasion to salute the remarkable courage of those Muslim women who have suffered great wrongs just due to the practice of Triple Talaq. The abolition of Triple Talaq will contribute to women empowerment and give women the dignity they deserve in our society.”

BJP Leaders Laud PM Modi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah lauded PM Modi and congratulated him for ‘fulfilling his commitment and ensuring a law to ban Triple Talaq’. He said, “Today is a great day for India’s democracy. I congratulate PM for fulfilling his commitment&ensuring a law to ban Triple Talaq, which will free Muslim women from curse of this regressive practice. I thank all parties who supported this historic bill.”

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath said,”Unfortunately people who used to speak for women empowerment opposed Bill in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, a Bill which is a symbol of women dignity. Congress and their allies, SP&BSP in state, have been exposed.”

JP Nadda, BJP’s working president said,”Heartiest greetings to PM Narendra Modi and all Rajya Sabha MPs for passing Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha and freeing Muslim women off the curse of Triple Talaq.”

“This Bill is one which ensures that the self respect of Muslim women stay intact. This reflects the motto of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ of Modi government,” he added.

Congress Calls The Bill ‘Politically Motivated’

Before the passage of the Triple Talaq Bill, Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, had called the legislation ‘politically motivated’. He had said,” Husband and wife will hire lawyers against each other, land will be sold in order to pay lawyers. By the time jail term will be over, they’ll be bankrupt. When they will come out of jail they will either commit suicide or become dacoits and thieves, that is the intention of your bill.”

Congress leader Raj Babbar said that a civil law has been made a criminal law. “Main samajhta hoon ki is desh ke andar kisi bhi family law ko lekar ek bahot bada jhatka hai. It’s a historic mistake,” Babbar told reporters.

Lok Sabha had passed the Triple Talaq bill last week with 303 votes in favour and 82 opposed. Once granted assent by the President, the practice of instant divorce by Muslim men will be punishable by a jail term of up to three years. The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 21 to the same effect.