New Delhi: Opposing the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi asked why the Centre wants to criminalise triple talaq when the Supreme Court has decriminalised homosexuality.

"You have said in the bill that the marriage of a couple would be legal even if a man gives triple talaq to his wife. You have proposed three years in jail for the man if he gives triple talaq to his wife. Who would give maintenance to the woman when her husband is in jail? Should she still wait for her husband to come out of jail?"

"The Supreme Court has decriminalised homosexuality, adultery and you are about to criminalise triple talaq. You are sure to form a New India! The Supreme Court has even said that instant triple talaq is invalid. You are penalising the women! You are expecting the woman to keep waiting for three years until the husband comes out of jail," he added.

Replying to Asaduddin Owaisi's arguments on triple talaq bill, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan asked if Asaduddin Owaisi would congratulate if someone gives triple talaq to his wife or daughter over a phone call. "The bill is for those who have been given triple talaq over WhatsApp messages and phone calls. We have heard stories on Muslim women have been given triple talaq over salt in food and over her teeth," she said.

Moving the bill for consideration on Thursday, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the legislation was a must for gender equality and justice as, despite an August 2017 Supreme Court verdict striking down the practice of instant triple talaq , women are being divorced by 'talaq-e-biddat'.

He said, since January 2017, 574 such cases have been reported by the media.

Three ordinances have so been promulgated as a similar bill moved by the previous government could not get parliamentary nod.

A fresh bill was introduced by the new government in June during the ongoing Parliament session.

Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three years for the husband.

Prasad said that to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial.

While the bill makes triple talaq a "non-bailable" offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.

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