Leaders hail passage of Women's Reservation Bill, demand swift implementation

Media Release
September 22, 2023

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New Delhi, Sept 22: The Parliament passed the Women's Reservation Bill which mandates a 33 per cent reservation for women in both the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and state assemblies.

Speaking on the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, BJP leader Tarun Chugh said, “It is the determination and dynamic leadership of PM Modi that the Women's Reservation Bill, stalled for over three decades, was passed in the Parliament."

The Rajya Sabha (Council of States) unanimously passed the Women's Reservation Bill, garnering support from 214 members, and none opposed it. The members expressed their approval through enthusiastic desk-thumping. Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and extended their greetings. A day earlier, the Lok Sabha (House of the People) also passed the Bill, with a significant majority of 454 members voting in favour of the legislation, while two members opposed it.

Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan said, “The bill has been passed in both House. This is a historic moment the women in our country. We demanded the bill to be implemented immediately and include OBC reservations as well."

Meanwhile, BJP MP Sushil Modi hailed Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam and called it a historic moment.

“All the members have experienced the history of every moment that how society is changing. The face of the Parliament is changing. We are proud that we are a part of this historic moment and to get the opportunity to pass this bill which will change the image of the country and the Parliament."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the women MPs after the passage of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. "It is gladdening to see the torchbearers of change come together to celebrate the very legislation they have championed. With the passage of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, India stands at the cusp of a brighter, more inclusive future with our Nari Shakti being at the core of this transformation." tweeted PM Modi.

BJP MP Diya Kumari thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, "Women are celebrating today. We are very happy with the passage of this Bill. PM Modi has finally made this dream come true. This piece of legislation was the need of the hour and he (PM Modi) realised it. He spearheaded efforts to have the Bill tabled and passed in all of two days."

Congress MP Joshimani, too, expressed her delight over the Bill's passage, saying, “We are happy that this important piece of legislation is finally close to seeing the light of day."

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rajani Patil said that the bill should be implemented immediately in 2024 Lok Sabha elections and include OBC reservations as well. We should not wait for delimitation or census."

Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda says, “The importance of this bill would have increased if it was implemented in this (2024 Lok Sabha) elections. We have no idea when the bill will be implemented...after census or delimitation? There were demands from the OBC community which the govt did not approve. We demand the bill to be implemented immediately."

The Rajya Sabha had previously passed the Women's Reservation Bill in 2010 while the Congress-led UPA government was in power. However, the bill was not considered by the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and consequently lapsed in the lower House of Parliament.

Speaking on the Bill, Congress MP KC Venugopal said that the bill is passed but we have put the two major amendments. "The first is to include OBC reservation, which the govt denied and the second is to implement the bill immediately. Our demand was to do it for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which was also denied by the govt. This is a little disappointing."

Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia hailed the Women, “Today the real foundation of women empowerment has been established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Today is a historic day for the country..."

Artist Malini Awasthi said that for many decades, there was a demand that women should also get full representation. “They should get their rights. We always say that they are half the population, every political party used to talk about it, but this time Modi govt took the initiative and all the opposition parties also supported it. This is a sign of India's healthy democracy and will send a huge message to the world..."

BJP leader Bansuri Swaraj said, "You know that our population has increased so once the census is done delimitation will happen and boundaries of each constituency will be redrawn and then the 33% reservation will be implemented."

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News Network
July 10,2024

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The Supreme Court today (July 10, 2024) held that a Muslim woman is entitled to file a petition for maintenance against her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih dismissed a petition filed by a Muslim man's plea against the direction to pay interim maintenance to his divorced wife under Section 125 CrPC. The Court held that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 will not prevail over the secular law.

Justices Nagarathna and Masih delivered separate but concurring judgments.

"We are dismissing the criminal appeal with the conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all women and not just married women," Justice Nagarathna stated.

The bench clarified that if during the pendency of a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC a Muslim woman is divorced, then she can take recourse to the Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019. The bench stated that the remedy under the 2019 Act is in addition to the remedy under Section 125 CrPC.

Background

For a comprehensive understanding of the facts of the case and the issue involved, click here.

Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri, appearing for the petitioner-husband, raised the following contentions:

(A) The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 Act ("Act") is a special law in the nature of beneficial legislation, which provides way more than what Section 125 CrPC contemplates. Besides maintenance, Section 3 of the Act also deals with mehr, dower and return of property. Under the Act, a "reasonable and fair" provision is also made for the divorced woman's entire life, but the same is not contemplated under Section 125 CrPC. Moreover, if the divorced woman has sufficient means, she cannot file for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, however, that is the case with Section 3 of the Act.

(B) To the legal position flowing from Mohd Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, factum of divorce was not relevant and every Muslim woman was entitled to maintain a Section 125 CrPC petition. To upset this ruling, the Act was enacted and it codified the Supreme Court judgment. The Act is a complete code in itself and a reading of its provisions would show that it was intended to have an overriding effect over Section 125 CrPC. While it makes provisions for "divorced" Muslim women, deserted or neglected Muslim women may resort to Section 125 CrPC.

(C) It is a settled position of law that special law (the Act) shall prevail over general law (CrPC). Language of the Act being clear, there is no reason for the Court to go beyond. It must simply give effect to what is stated in the Act.

(D) Section 5 gives an option to the divorced couple to not be governed by the Act. This shows that a Muslim wife cannot resort to both remedies.

(E) As per Section 7 of the Act, a Section 125 CrPC petition pending at the time of commencement of the Act was to be disposed of by the Magistrate in terms of Section 3 of the Act. This shows that the ambit of Section 125 CrPC in these petitions was to be interpreted in light of provisions of the Act, read with Section 5 CrPC (which excludes applicability of CrPC provisions when there is a special provision).

(F) Under doctrine of implied repeal, the Parliament is presumed to know pre-existing law and won't intend to create any confusion by retaining conflicting provisions. In applying this doctrine, Court must give effect to legislative intent of the two enactments (CrPC and the Act).

Amicus and Senior Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, on the other hand, put forth the following submissions:

(A) The Act only concretizes Muslim personal law. It broadens a divorced Muslim woman's entitlement to maintenance beyond the iddat period, but does not take away the relief available to her under Section 125 CrPC because the purpose behind the latter is different.

(B) The petitioner's reliance on Section 5 of the Act is misplaced, as that provision comes into play when an application has been filed under Section 3 of the Act. In the present case, the respondent-wife had approached the Court under Section 125 CrPC.

(C) Section 7 of the Act is only a transitional provision. If an application was pending under Section 125 CrPC on the date of commencement of the Act, it was to be subsequently governed by Section 3. However, that does not mean that Section 125 CrPC petitions could no longer be filed.

(D) In Danial Latifi & Anr v. Union Of India, Supreme Court only dealt with validity of the Act. Though the validity of provisions of the Act was upheld, the Bench questioned in the said case as to how it could deprive Muslim divorced women the same right which is available to other women in the country.

(E) As per Section 127(3)(b) CrPC, if some provision has been made under personal law, a husband may avoid liability for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC. It would be for Courts to record a fact-finding in this regard.

(F) Different High Courts have taken different views, so clarity on the issue has become necessary. Judgments that are no longer good law may be declared as such. Kerala High Court has taken a view both Section 125 (CrPC) petition and Section 3 (1986 Act) petition are maintainable, but a woman has to choose between one of the two. But this position is not correct.

Before conclusion of arguments, the Amicus also pointed to a scenario where a divorced Muslim woman may accept provision made under personal law for her entire life, but later realize that it was not sufficient. In that case, she can only approach under Section 125 CrPC and not under Section 3 of the Act. As such, she should not have to choose between the two remedies and must be entitled to both.

Court Observations during the hearing

During the hearing, the Bench remarked that Section 3 of the Act begins with a non-obstante clause. As such, it is not in derogation to what is already provided under Section 125 CrPC, but an additional remedy.

Justice Masih said : "this Act does not bar...it is the choice of the person who had applied or moved an application under 125...there is no statutory provision provided under the Act of 1986 which says that 125 is not maintainable". Concurring, Justice Nagarathna said that there was nothing in the 1986 law which barred one remedy in favor of the other.

When the Bench enquired as to whether the present petitioner had paid anything to the respondent-wife during the iddat period, answer was given in the negative. The Amicus clarified that a draft of Rs.15,000 was tendered by the petitioner during the iddat period, but the same was not claimed by the respondent-wife. Taking into account the same, the Bench said that it would still have been understandable if the petitioner had made provision for the wife during the iddat period, as in that case, Section 127(3)(b) CrPC may have come into play.

Responding to the petitioner's submission that none of the judgments cited by either side had dealt with Section 7 of the Act, Nagarathna J said that the provision was only with regard to pending cases (and thus, transitory). Countering the contention, the Amicus drew attention of the Court to a Kerala High Court judgment which considered Section 7 and held that it could not be interpreted as extinguishing the right of divorced Muslim women to file petitions under Section 125 CrPC.

Notably, the Kerala High Court (in the judgment cited by the Amicus) was of the view that the transitory provision was intended to do away with the necessity of Muslim women, who had Section 125 CrPC petitions pending at the time of commencement of the Act, having to file fresh claims under Section 3 of the special law. To quote the Bench,

"If the Parliament had the intention to extinguish such rights of the Muslim woman, it would only be reasonable to expect the Parliament to speak in definite and specific language about such extinguishment. Parliament must have been aware that when 1986 Act was enacted, number of orders must have passed in favor of divorced Muslim women under Section 125...Message appears to us to be loud and clear...Both rights, under Section 125 of the Code and Section 3 were conferred on the divorced women. She has the right to choose."

As against the petitioner's submission that the provisions of the Act indicate Parliament's intent to bar entitlement of Muslim women to file maintenance claims under Section 125 CrPC, the Court expressed an opinion that the same would be unconstitutional.

If the Parliament intended for divorced Muslim women to no longer be entitled to file petitions under Section 125 CrPC from the date of commencement of the Act, it could have explicitly given an overriding effect to the Act, the Bench remarked. To quote Nagarathna J, "In the absence of such a thing, can we add a restriction to the Act? That is the point".

After hearing the submissions of both the Senior Advocates, the judgment was reserved on February 19.

Counsels for petitioner-husband: Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri; Advocates Saeed Qadri, Saahil Gupta, Deepak Bhati and Shivendra Singh; AOR Udita Singh

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News Network
July 7,2024

Mangaluru: Dakshina Kannada district recorded 300 infant deaths between the time of birth and one year of age, with an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 10.3 in 2023-24.

According to health and family welfare department statistics, out of 29,027 live births, 180 boy and 120 girl infants died between April 2023 and March 2024.

Meanwhile, 10 pregnant women died, recording a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 34.4 in the district in 2023-24.

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News Network
July 7,2024

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Henley & Partners Passport Index revealed India's passport strength improved by three position in 2024. The Indian passport is currently ranked 80th place as it has weakened during the past ten years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. It has dropped from 76th position to 80th. 

The Index is based on exclusive International Air Transport Authority (Iata) data. In addition, publicly available and reliable online sources were also used to cross-check each passport against all 227 possible travel destinations.

List of countries Indian nationals can visit visa-free or get visa-on-arrival in 2024:

Africa: Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde islands, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zimbabwe

Asia: Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macao (SAR China), Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines (valid or unexpired American, Japanese, Australian, Canadian, Schengen, Singapore or UK visa, or permanent residence permit from these states) Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste

Americas: Bolivia, El Salvador

Caribbean: Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago

Oceania: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau Islands, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Middle East: Jordan, Oman, Qatar

NOTE for UAE: As of December 6, 2023, Indian nationals with a normal passport valid for a minimum of six months from the arrival date, holding a visit visa or green card issued by the US which is valid for a minimum of six months or a UK or EU residence ID which is valid for a minimum of six months, can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days for a charge of Dh191 (subject to change). They can apply to extend their stay for an additional 14 days for Dh250 (subject to change) through Amer offices in Dubai.

Indian nationals holding an extension letter for US residency are not eligible for a visa on arrival. (According to a note published on Emirates airline website).

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