NEW DELHI, July 30 - In a major success for Modi Government, Parliament on Tuesday approved a bill that makes instant triple talaq among Muslims a criminal offence after the contentious legislation was passed by Rajya Sabha following support from BJD and walkout by NDA allies JD-U and AIADMK.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed by 99 votes in favour and 84 against, as the ruling NDA, which lacks majority in the Upper House, was also helped by the absence of some members of the opposition Congress, SP and BSP as well as six members of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and two MPs of YSR-Congress.
Lok Sabha had passed the Bill last week and once granted assent by the President, the practice of Muslim men instantly divorcing their wives by uttering �talaq� thrice will become a criminal offence, punishable by jail term of up to three years.
The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 21 to the same effect.
Rajya Sabha also rejected an opposition sponsored motions to send the bill to a Select Committee of the House and for making triple talaq a civil offence with 100 votes against it as compared to 84 in favour.
While BJD�s seven members supported the legislation, JD-U�s 6 MPs and AIADMK 11 members walked out, lowering the majority mark which normally stands at 121. The ruling NDA has 107 members in the 242-member Rajya Sabha.
The same strategy had helped the government push through the contentious amendment to the Right To Information (RTI) Act last week despite lacking numbers in the Upper House.
The NDA was also strengthened by absentees in the opposition ranks. Oscar Fernandes and four other Congress MPs as also NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel were absent.
Two Samajwadi Party MPs, Ram Jethmalani of the RJD, two Trinamool Congress MPs and one member of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were also not present.
Replying to a four-and-half-hour debate on the Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar 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 why his party could never win majority following the peak of 400-plus seats it won in 1984.
He saw the 1986 Shah Bano case, where the Congress did not stick its neck out to support women rights, as the main reason for the downfall of the party. � PTI