New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) A day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi sought the Prime Minister’s support for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday asked him to support the proposed law to prohibit triple talaq and nikah halala.
He said that as national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress cannot have two sets of standards in dealing with women and their rights.
In a letter to Gandhi, which was released to the media, Prasad said: “As part of the new deal, we should approve, in both houses of Parliament, the Women’s Reservation Bill, the law prohibiting triple talaq and imposing penal consequence on those who violate the law, and prohibiting nikah halala.”
Under the triple talaq practice, a Muslim man can instantly divorce his wife by orally repeating the ‘talaq’ word thrice. As per ‘nikah halala’, a woman divorcee has to marry someone else, consummate this marriage to get a divorce and remarry her earlier husband.
Prasad’s letter came a day after Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his support for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament’s monsoon session starting on July 18, claiming that the BJP appears to have had second thoughts on the proposed law even though it was a key promise in its 2014 manifesto.
“As national parties, we cannot have two sets of standards in dealing with women and their rights. We are already too late in conferring the right of adequate representation, equality in personal laws and doing away with such provisions which compromise women’s dignity,” Prasad said.
The BJP leader also targeted the Congress chief over the lapsing of the Women’s Reservation Bill with the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
“The bill was originally proposed by the National Democratic Alliance government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee but could not be passed for want of a consensus in Parliament.
“It was reintroduced during the UPA-II government in the Rajya Sabha. Despite disturbances, the BJP and NDA stood in firm support of the bill and got it passed in the Rajya Sabha. For reasons best known to the government of that day, no effort was made to get the bill passed in the Lok Sabha,” Prasad said.
The Minister said that the Modi government welcomes Gandhi’s initiative to support the bill. “However, the government will like to understand fully the reasons why the bill was not taken up for three years by the UPA government in the Lok Sabha and allowed to lapse?”