There is no disappointment if the Anti Talaq Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha today (27 Dec. 2018). The outcome was expected as the ruling party has absolute majority in the lower house of Indian Parliament and to display its muscle power the government would by all means pass this Bill.
However, to me, the take aways from today’s debate in the Parliament are:
(1). The whole opposition has clearly opposed this Bill and demanded it is to be sent to Select Committee.
(2). Some opposition speakers have spoken very well against the motion while participating in the debate.
(3). There was some clarity in the opposition as what it has been opposing and why unlike the earlier debate on the same Bill in the same Lok Sabha.
(4) The standard of debate today in the Parliament was high and content came out was important and educative for many.
(5). A few members of the AIMPLB have done hardwork last week and met important opposition leaders from West Bengal to Hyderabad which had partly paid positively.
(6). On the other hand, some speakers from the opposition were lacking in counter arguments, statistics and in putting their views across as how this new Bill is useless, communal and against basic tenets of Indian constitution and Islam.
(6). The opposition failed to state that this Bill is against all Muslims denominations including Shia sect and Salfi school, and plainly against Islam. Among Muslims across the world, the debate on Triple Talaq, has always been, if instant Triple Talaq is three or one effective. The Bill made it completely null and void which is against Qur’an thus against fundamental rights of a minority group and against basic principle of our constitution.
(7). The entire opposition also failed to strongly question the government as how a ‘no-crime’ becomes ‘crime’. Talaq, Talaq, Talaq is meaningless according to this Bill as well as according to the Supreme Court order in 2017. How mere utterance of a meaningless word does become a crime?
(8). The opposition also failed to ask the government about a precise and concise definition of Talaq-e Bida’t.
(9). The opposition could not clarify that this Bill is against Muslim women because it is taking away their rights of Khula (Talaq from wife’s side), guaranteed by their religion – Islam.
(10). The lack of a planned and unity-effort from the larger opposition was clearly visible. They were opposing but without a unanimous tune.
Will this Bill pass in RS?
I am not sure. I am, rather confident that this Bill can be stopped in Rajya Sabha subject to seriousness from the opposition and more preparation from All India Muslim Personal Law Board. It is time for the Board to find out who the speakers will be in the upper house when the Bill is presented there – in Rajya Sabha and brief them with concrete evidence and rational arguments that this Bill itself is utterly against both constitution and women. It is biased against male members of a particular community and a destructve instrument for family life. It is unjust and inhuman.
In a democracy number is important. The Board has already gathered authentic data where 90 percent Muslim women are against this Bill. This information needs to be put by the opposition before the highest legislative house of India. The Board needs to walk to the doors of all opposition parties who have strengths in Rajya Sabha like SP, BSP, AIADMK, DMK along with Congress, TMC, TDP and TRS.
(Author is editor of Eastern Crescent and based in Mumbai.)