New Delhi: The Congress party on Thursday extended its support for the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill - popularly known as the Triple Talaq bill, but said the proposed legislation is full of shortcomings which must be settled.
"We are with the government and extend our support for the triple talaq bill. But, there are certain flaws in the law which must be corrected", leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said while participating in the debate on the proposed legislation.
Kharge also sought to send the Bill to a standing committee to weed out the shortcomings in the legislation, but the government did not agree.
"Congress leader Kharge has declared they are with us, but I can’t understand why they want the law be referred to the standing committee.
"Whatever suggestions they have they should tell us here, if fine we can incorporate them in the law", Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The Modi government on Thursday tabled the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha despite opposition by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and other Muslim organisations, including those run by the women activists who led the campaign against instant talaq.
Under the draft bill, triple talaq in any form -- spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp -- would be bad or illegal and void.
The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or concurrent talaq and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children.
The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
"The provision of subsistence allowance and custody has been made to ensure that in case the husband asks the wife to leave the house she should have legal protection," the functionary said.
According to the draft law, which would be applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant talaq would attract a jail term of three years and a fine. It would be a non-bailable, cognisable offence.
The Supreme Court of India on August 22, 2017 while terming instant or triple talaq against the principles of Quran and Shariah invalidated the evil practice and asked the government to bring a legislation on it in the parliament.
The Supreme Court referred to the fact that several Islamic countries like Pakistan do not allow triple talaq; judges questioned why it should not be abolished in India.
Differences over practice of Triple Talaq exist in the Islamic Sharia since the tenure of second Caliph Omar (RA). Muslim scholars and jurists argue that concurrent talaq or triple talaq in one go has never been approved by Prphet Mohammad (peace be upon him), during the tenure of first Caliph Abu Bakr (RA) and the first two years of Caliph Omar's caliphate.
Caliph Omar later approved it as punishment, scholars argue, but later on the practice was annulled by Muslim jurists. It is on this basis, the practice of concurrent talaq has been termed invalid in most of the Muslim countries.
Muslims in India, majority of them followers of Hanafi school of thought, are adamant on the invalid concurrent talaq and are fighting a case with women activists in the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, some renowned Hanafi scholars have also ruled against concurrent or triple talaq. According to the sources in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the members fear that agreeing to any change on triple talaq would open floodgate of interference in other Sharia matters.
It is also learnt that there is a strong dissent among the members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMLB) and especially some women members are upset over board's handling of the situation.