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Cinemas, Malls to stay open 24/7: Cabinet permits Night Shift for Women

The successful implementation of the Act depends on states, as the cabinet is only an advisory to state governments

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Shopping mall in India. Image source: worldbase9.com
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  • The bill is expected to open the floodgates to various employment opportunities
  • The model law will also empower women by providing them with an opportunity to work on night shifts
  • It has a provision for five paid festival holidays, apart from the national holidays

The cabinet on Wednesday, June 29, cleared that it will allow malls, shops, cinema theatres to operate 24/7, throughout the year.

The move which can add thousands of additional skilled jobs is also seen as an effective way to encourage employment. The bill will also empower women by providing them with an opportunity to work on night shifts, given mandatory cab services and other workplace facilities for them.

In a statement, Labour and Employment minister said, “Women to be permitted during the night shift- if the provision of shelter, restroom, ladies toilet, adequate protection of their dignity and transportation etc. exists.”

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said, the bill intends to end the “protective discrimination” that limited employment opportunities for women.

However, the government clarified that the bill’s success will depend on the states, iterating that it only acts as an advisory to state governments.

Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal told The Hindu, “We will send it to the States immediately. The model law will be a ready made material for the State governments as this has taken shape after several rounds of extensive consultation within various ministries and the Cabinet.”

The bill has also proposed to exempt highly-skilled professionals like those in information technology sector or bio-technology from a daily nine-hour shift and has allowed them weekly 48 working hours.

It has also put forward a provision for five paid festival holidays, apart from the national holidays.

The law also brings various sectors (except factories) like printing, banking, insurance, stocks and shares brokerage, and “any other public amusement” which are currently not covered under the Factories Act 1948, under it. Even the small establishments that employ 10 or more workers will be taken care of in this Act, reported The Hindu.

The decision is viewed to bring parity in the legislative process and will even bring e-commerce companies under the labour law ambit.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, this will indeed increase the employment opportunities and night shifts for women would make them independent and courageous

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Lok Sabha passes Bill that criminalises triple talaq

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed by a voice vote after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member N.K. Premachandran that the legislation is circulated for public opinion. 

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Triple talaq
Activists of various social organisations hold placards during a protest against "Triple Talaq" in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (VOA)

New Delhi, Dec 28: The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill that criminalises instant divorce with three years of imprisonment for Muslim husbands after the government rejected an overwhelming demand from the Opposition to refer the legislation to a Parliamentary standing committee for detailed consideration.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed by a voice vote after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member N.K. Premachandran that the legislation is circulated for public opinion.

Various amendments moved by opposition members, including Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Premachandran, were negatived in divisions.

Lok Sabha cleared the Triple Talaq bill
Lok Sabha cleared the Triple Talaq bill

The government’s determination to get the Bill passed could be gauged from the fact that it was introduced in the morning and taken up for consideration in the afternoon by suspending relevant rules and then passed in the evening by sitting late beyond the scheduled close of the House.

Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who introduced the bill and later piloted it in the Lok Sabha, said history was being created today.

He said the issue was not of religion or faith but of “gender justice and gender equality” and appealed to all the parties to rise above political considerations and politics of vote bank. “Women are seeing that justice will be done to them. Let us speak in one voice that we are for gender justice and gender equity and pass the Bill unanimously,” Prasad said, winding up the discussion.

He said instances of instant triple talaq continue despite the Supreme Court ruling it as unconstitutional in August this year. The bill seeks to declare pronouncement of talaq-e-biddat (three pronouncements of talaq at one go) by Muslim husbands void and illegal in view of the Supreme Court verdict.

Prasad said while Justice Rohington Nariman and U.U. Lalit held in their judgment in August that instant divorce was unconstitutional and the government should look at bringing a law, Justice Kurian Joseph had observed that what is a sin in Islamic laws cannot be legal.

During the debate, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Congress of appeasing Muslims
During the debate, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Congress of appeasing Muslims

The Minister saw no justification in the demand for referring the Bill to a standing committee saying the affected Muslim women were crying for justice and were fully backing it. He said there was a contradiction in members wanting it to be referred to a standing committee and some arguing why it was not brought earlier.

The Bill makes the act of pronouncing talaq-e-biddat punishable offence. There is provision for subsistence allowance from the husband for the livelihood and daily supporting needs of the wife as also of the dependent children. The wife would also be entitled to the custody of minor children.

Intervening in the debate, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said time was now ripe for the passage of the legislation in the interest of Muslim women. He recalled an instance of a British journalist interviewing the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru after the passage of the Hindu code Bill when she asked when would the government introduce reforms in Muslim laws.

Nehru was not opposed to reforms of Muslim personal laws but merely said the time was not opportune then, Akbar said. “That time has come now.”

Though Opposition members, including from the Congress, supported the legislation, they wanted it to be referred to a parliamentary committee so that several lacunae can be removed and the provisions strengthened in favour of Muslim women. The law must ensure that subsistence allowance and maintenance to the women and the children were not stopped, they felt.

Some felt that the BJP government was in a haste to pass the Bill, not because of its concern for Muslim women but because it sees this as a first step towards bringing in a uniform civil code. They wanted the measure to be given up immediately.

During the debate, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Congress of appeasing Muslims and said there is a need for codification of Muslim personal laws in the country.

“They (Congress) always did appeasement politics for which the country has paid for 30 years and today we have this chance. If we lose this chance today we will not have another chance.,” she said.

“Codification of Islamic law is needed in this country. No one knows what is Sharia, Talaq-e-Biddat… No one knows the difference,” she added.