Instant triple talaq bill tabled in RS, Oppn demands select committee

Rajat Kain



The legislation to criminalise instant triple talaq was tabled in Rajya Sabha amid uproar by the Opposition members. Soon after the bill was tabled by Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Opposition MPs stood up asking the bill be sent to the Select Committee. As the deadlock over the bill prevailed, the House was adjourned till Thursday.

The Government strongly questioned the stance of the Opposition, especially the Congress party, accusing it of adopting “double standards” for it has supported the bill in Lok Sabha.

Union minister and leader of the house Arun Jaitley said, “The whole country is watching that in other house you supported the bill and in this house you are trying to derail the bill”.

Jaitley also underscored the need for an exigent legislation by Parliament on instant triple talaq in line with the Supreme Court verdict declaring the practice unconstitutional.

“Supreme Court had suspended this practice for six months… Those six months start August 22, 2017 and expire on February 22, 2018… Therefore there is an urgency that the country expects from the Parliament and that urgency is that this practice is unlawful yet some people have said they will defy the judgement… therefore it is required that what has been termed as unconstitutional should be given a legislative claim,” Jaitley said.

The Congress and other opposition parties, including TMC, SP, RJD, BJD, BSP and AIADMK rallied the demand for sending the bill to Select Committee asking it required to be examined more and could be taken up at the start of Budget Session.

“Any law which is enacted goes through legislative scrutiny so that any flaws or lacunae can be corrected… Parliament cannot be a rubber stamp that they bring the bill and we pass it,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

“The constution provides for two house so as to correct the mistakes, if any, in the law passed by one house. We are not against women’s right, there should be law for women empowerment for all the sections and not just one,” SP leader Naresh Agarwal said demanding the bill be sent to Select Committee.

“We want this bill, we want this bill but the bill is faulty. You need consultation… have a vote on this to send it to the Select Committee,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien said amid noise.

But the Leader of the House questioned Opposition’s resolution to send the bill to the select panel saying it defied the established conventions of the House.

The bill can only be sent to the Select Committee if it has originated from this house, Jaitley said citing rules of business and procedure in Rajya Sabha, adding that the notice for amendment shall be given at least a day before.

“For the first time breaking all parliamentary practice and convention an invalid motion is moved… I have never come across the motion not submitted 24 hours in advance,” he said contending the Opposition’s motion for sending the bill to Select Committee.

The bill — Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 – was passed in Lok Sabha last week.

The Congress, which had supported the bill in Lok Sabha, albeit some strong suggestions against it, consulted larger opposition before finalising its stand. Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad had convened a meeting of the leaders of his party (the Congress) as well as other parties in his Parliament chamber on Tuesday.