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Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq Bill after heated debate, Rajya Sabha test next

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New Delhi, July 25: The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the contentious Triple Talaq Bill after a noisy debate which saw Trinamool Congress MPs staging a walk out of the Lower House. The Bill on Muslim Women (Protection on Rights of Marriage), also known as the Triple Talaq Bill, was passed by 303 ayes and 82 noes in Lok Sabha.

A heated debate was held in Lok Sabha during which Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the bill was not about religion, but about gender equality.

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"If 20 Islamic countries can ban Triple Talaq, why can't India? Even Mohammad Prophet said that triple talaq is a sin," said Ravi Shankar Prasad in Lok Sabha during the Triple Talaq debate.

The bill, which criminalises instant divorce by Muslim men and seeks jail term for the guilty, was the first draft legislation tabled by the Narendra Modi government in this first session after it took oath of office for a second term in May.

There is already an ordinance in place which will lapse if the Bill does not get passed by both Houses and gets the President's assent within this session. The proposed legislation, which seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq among Muslims, has been controversial ever since its inception following a SC judgement in 2017.

['Must for gender equality, justice': Centre on triple talaq]

The Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha last month amidst Opposition protests but was not taken up for discussion and passage. While the government had won a vote in the Lok Sabha on whether it could be tabled and, given its majority in the House, the Bill will sail through the Lower House - it was introduced following a vote, with 186 members supporting and 74 opposing it - but it is in the Rajya Sabha where things may get slightly complicated.

The Narendra Modi government is keen to get parliamentary approval for the triple talaq bill but there is no certainty that it will clear the Rajya Sabha hurdle.

Here's what some prominent leaders said during the Triple Talaq debate:

"Why is the law penalising only men of one community for abandoning their wives? Also, when the Supreme Court has already said that the Triple Talaq is unconstitutional, why bring about an act to criminalise it?' said Shashi Tharoor.

"I have to express my reservations about the bill. Why is there discrimination between Muslim and non-Muslim women? There is a particular reality that every woman is facing, but you are not taking that reality into account. This bill is discriminatory," said Congress party's S Jothimani.

"This bill is going to criminalise a civil act. The bill is a consequence of a Supreme Court judgement. There are two types of talaqs, one initiated by the woman, and the other initiated by the man. According to the bill, the man will be sent to jail if he says to his wife the word 'talaq' three times. Will he go to jail if he abandons his wife in any other way?," said TDP's Jayadev Galla.

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