Winter Session ends, Triple Talaq Bill on back burner

RSTV Bureau


The legislation to criminalise instant triple talaq, which was listed for further consideration in Rajya Sabha on Friday, hangs in balance as the Winter session of Parliament ended. Even though the bill was moved in the upper house by Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday, the discussion could not take place following a stalemate between the government and opposition.

There are speculations that the bill may be taken up when the Parliament meets next for the Budget session, most likely this month end.

The opposition parties, though, said they backed the legislation, demanded the bill be sent to the select committee. They also flagged concerns over the provisions, including the three-month jail term for the offending husband.

On Thursday, the Government had 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.

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.

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