Govt. rejects demand to send triple talaq bill to House panel

The Opposition parties are of the view that the triple talaq Bill should be sent to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. Photo for representational purpose.

The Opposition parties are of the view that the triple talaq Bill should be sent to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. Photo for representational purpose.   | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui


Impasse stalls Rajya Sabha; debate to resume on Wednesday

The government on Monday rejected the Opposition’s demand in the Rajya Sabha to send the contentious Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, to a joint select committee for further scrutiny.

The House was adjourned after heated exchanges between the treasury and Opposition benches.

The Bill will be taken up again on Wednesday, when the House meets after a break for New Year’s Day. The legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Friday.


Uncertain numbers

The government is in an uncomfortable position, with at least three parties, including NDA ally Janata Dal (United), opposed to the legislation.

According to sources, 25 members — 13 from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and six each from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the JD(U) — may walk out or abstain if a vote is called. The AIADMK and the TRS have rarely voted against any government legislation.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has maintained equidistance from both government and Opposition blocs, is backing the Bill.

The Opposition is confident of the support of 116 members out of the total strength of 245.


Cross-party support

Monday’s debate on the Bill started at two in the afternoon, with eight members of the AIADMK trooping into the well continuing ongoing protests against the Central Water Commission’s nod for the Mekadatu Dam on the Cauvery river.


Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and floor leader Derek O’Brien then moved a resolution — signed by 11 MP including AIADMK’s A. Navaneethakrishnan — to send the legislation to a select committee. The others signatories include Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Telugu Desam Party’s Y.S. Chowdary, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj K. Jha, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, Nationalist Congress Party’s Vandana Chavan, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Tiruchi Siva, Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Misra, Communist Party of India’s D. Raja, Communist Party of India (Marxist) K.K. Ragesh.

Mr. O’Brien pleaded with Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who was in the chair, to take the sense of the House that was in favour of sending the bill for further Parliamentary scrutiny. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, too, backed him by saying that more than half the members of the House supported the call.

“The government tries to bulldoze every legislation through. It is Parliamentary tradition that each legislation should go through standing committee. Since this Bill did not go through one in Lok Sabha, it should be sent to select committee here,” Mr. Azad said.

Govt. blames Congress

Junior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel interceded claiming that the country should realise that it is the Congress-led opposition which is stalling the Triple Talaq Bill even as the government was ready for a debate.


Amidst pandemonium from all sides the House was adjourned at 2:10 p.m. for 15 minutes.

When the House reconvened, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Anand Sharma reiterated the demand to refer the legislation to a select panel, saying the Rajya Sabha does not exist merely to “rubber stamp” legislation cleared by Lok Sabha. He added that the government is playing politics over the issue.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responded that the government was ready for a debate and to hear all suggestions proposed by the opposition, but the Bill must not be put in limbo by sending it to the select committee. He said that even after the Supreme Court judgement had outlawed instantaneous divorce, an incident of triple talaq had been reported.

With two sides failing to reach a consensus, the House was adjourned for the day at 2:28 p.m.

“The BJP is doing marketing in which they have always been good at. But they do not know “A” of parliamentary procedures. All the opposition is asking for is that Bill should be scrutinised. The Parliament can’t be run like an 800 square feet shop of silver jewellery is run in Ahmedabad by two friends,” Mr. O’Brien said, addressing the media outside the Rajya Sabha.

He pointed out that in earlier governments, at least 70-75% of the bills were scrutinised by standing committees but under this government only 20-25% of the bills go through this process.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:57:48 AM |

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