Logjam persists in Rajya Sabha over instant triple talaq bill

Rajat Kain

File Photo of Muslim women offering prayers.

File Photo of Muslim women offering prayers.

The logjam over legislation to criminalise instant triple talaq, which was moved in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid uproar by the Opposition members, continued as both the government and opposition could not arrive at any consensus. As the uproar errupted in the upper house over Opposition’s demand to send the bill to select committee, the proceedings were adjourned for the day.

The current winter session of Parliament is slated to hold sittings till Friday.

The Government once again questioned the motions moved by the Opposition members – Anand Sharma (Congress) and Sukhendu Shekhar Roy (TMC) – to send the bill to house panel, saying it defied the established conventions of the House.

Arguing for the examination of bill by the select committee, leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the bill, in current form, is against the interest of muslim women. “Who will provide for the compensation of women and her children if her husband is in jail,” he contended.

As both sides failed to arrive at any solution, the Opposition MPs took to the aisles and started protest, after which Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien adjourned the proceedings till Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, leader of the house Arun Jaitley strongly 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.

Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad too had criticised Congress for its stance, accusing it of adopting “double standards”, as it had supported the bill in Lok Sabha.

File photo of Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

File photo of Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
PTI

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 had said.

“The constitution provides for two houses 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 had 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.

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