July 25, 2019
Sudip Bandyopadhyay speaks on The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019
Chairman Sir, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019 was last discussed 27.12.2018. I took part in it. It appears sometimes that the Government is being run through ordinances only. In this case also, the Ordinance was promulgated by the President on September 19, 2018. Sir, we first want to say that we are totally in favour of empowerment of women in this country. India is one country which is the forerunner of secularism and communal harmony, and all sections of women should be kept protected. This is beyond doubt.
Sir, when the Supreme Court delivered the judgement, then nobody had any doubt that it would be implemented. I am telling you the consequences I represent from Kolkata and even here from 12th Lok Sabha. I have a huge domination of Muslim people including linguistic minorities who read and write only Urdu language, known as Urdu speaking Muslims. They are little bit tough in their religion. Sir many sensible Muslim people even they feel that Triple Talaaq is a sinful step, and they are also of the opinion that they do not support this Triple Talaaq.
I sometimes become surprised to hear from them that why they are making such comments? It was a time when all Muslims overall agreed that their personal law: Government is interfering, people are interferin. But now the situation has changed, there is no doubt and there cannot be any dispute that there is a need to protect not only married Muslim women and unmarried Muslim women also. Sometimes by the triple talaaq also, sometimes by their health, education everything which have to be protected as it has been discussed by others.
But before by Triple Talaaq to us threatening the social security and well being of a society as a whole. Triple Talaaq announcement and talaaq is implemented – we are opposing Sir.
But we have some points against this Bill. We are yet to protect the married Muslim women who are really facing difficulty with the pronouncement of Triple Talaq and the way they are being divorced. So, on this part which has been introduced by the government, we have nothing to say. But what is excessive, arbitrary and irrational, according to us, is regarding the punishment question. Three years of imprisonment for the husband, we do not support this part in the Bill. Once a person is sent to jail and he is being asked to look after his family, then how it is possible that will happen? While being in prison, he cannot look after his family. So the question of giving maintenance by the husband will be moot if the person goes to jail. He will find no scope and opportunity to provide a financial support. There can be little question of maintenance and the person will not be in a position to earn money. The only women who could be benefited under this Law are those whose husbands have significant estates and income. That will permit their husbands to make payment of maintenance even they are not working.
Sir, this is a problem. So if this provision of imprisonment persists, then the said Bill would lead to injustice and make a woman’s life deteriorate further. Sir, the divorced woman would then suffer and justice would not be served to them. We therefore propose that this Bill should be referred to a Joint Select Committee. We think that this is a battle of war and we won very firmly. We are for empowerment of women; we have said it very categorically. In our party, 22 MPs have been elected, 40% of which are female MPs. So we have crossed 33%. So if we place our demand that Triple Talaq announcement by three times—Talaq, Talaq, Talaq — and the lady is divorced, we do not support that.
I would be happy if a person like Farooq Abdullah would have been sitting in the House. I think he will also agree with me. This part should be immediately abolished, no doubt about it. And this message should go to the country but our objection it is very firm sending the person for three years imprisonment. If you withdraw this part, the whole of the nation and whole of the country including the responsible Muslim personal. Imams of the Masjids – I have discussed with them very important Masjids of Kolkata like Nakhoda Masjid, Bari Masjid. They are also of the opinion and communicate our sentiment and feeling also. They are not opposed to this. Because nowadays empowerment of women is most important. We are also in a state where a woman chief minister is heading the government, and we are feeling that how courageously she is implementing the orders. And this is a political party, Trinamool Congress. We are saying this statement by supporting the government this attitude and bill so vocally and soundly.
So I would request Mr Ravi Shankar Ji you may not have passed from London or from America as you are telling before that you are an Indian lawyer. But I have our respect for your lawyership. You are a very good Lawyer, I know. You have introduced the Bill, trying to pass it. Again it will go to Rajya Sabha, again there will be blockage. So why not it can be fast? Women’s upliftment is our principal. We want to see that women problems are sorted out, whichever community it may be – Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Christians. As Muslims cannot only be minorities, there are six other groups also, they belong to minority groups. This idea is decided in such a manner that it is accepted with unanimity as you are asking for. If this punishment portion can be withdrawn, what are the difficulties over there. We want to know it from you. Three years imprisonment, what does it give you. You are putting somebody behind the prison, do you expect that the man will send financial assistance to that divorcee? Is it possible for him? So we believe that we are for the empowerment of women. We are the believers of the principle of secularism and communal harmony of the country. Let it continue. As much as united efforts can be implemented for this Bill, everyone should be happy, even if it is Hindu or it is Muslim. The whole Nation will feel satisfied that this disputed question after long long time has been sorted out very nicely. I hope this will be done and it will be it be accepted with unanimity. Thank you.