Parliament proceedings — Rajya Sabha passes triple talaq Bill

A view of the Indian Parliament. File

A view of the Indian Parliament. File   | Photo Credit: AP

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Rajya Sabha has passed the triple talaq Bill, 84 against and 99 for.

The Bill was passed after a walkout by JD(U) and AIADMK members giving the government advantage in numbers.

This was the third time the Bill was considered in the Upper House. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 25.

Here are the live updates:

Lok Sabha | 7.00 p.m.

Lok Sabha passes The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 to enable introduction of minimum wage for every worker and addresses issues like delay in payment.

Lorho S. Pfoze of NPF says Manipuri language, which was previously written in the Bengali script, now has a script of its own. He asks for an amendment in the Constitution to include the Manipuri language in its script.

Rajya Sabha | 6.33 p.m.

A division vote in progress on The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha.

The triple talaq Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. 84 vote against and 99 vote for the Bill.

JD(U), AIADMK walked out; TRS,TDP, Satish Mishra of BSP, Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel of NCP and Jharna Das Baidya of CPI(M) were absent; 40 Congress MPs were present.

Rajya Sabha | 5.51 p.m.

Voting for the triple talaq Bill in progress in the Rajya Sabha.

The opposition asks for a division vote on the reference of the Bill to a select committee. The result of the division- 84, yes 100, no. The House decides against referral to a select panel.

Rajya Sabha | 5.15 p.m.

Sampatiya Uikey of the BJP asks the members to pass the triple talaq Bill and "give the country's sisters a Rakshabandhan gift."

Digvijaya Singh from INC opposes the Bill. "The Supreme Court has held triple talaq unconstitutional. This Bill is redundant in this regard," he says. Even amongst the Hindus, he says, the concept of natra exists, similar to the triple talaq. "Why will the government not criminalise that?" he asks.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice says, "When the Hindu Marriage Act was passed, a second marriage was not just declared void, but made a criminal offence. This was passed by the Congress government...Similarly, the practice of dowry was made a non-bailable offence." "This House does not need the mandate of the Supreme Court to pass a law," he says.

Lok Sabha | 5.00 p.m.

Balook Nagar (BSP) speaks about organised and unorganised sector workers, while discussing the The Code on Wages, 2019, asking that minimum wages be set for the unorganised sector like farm workers.

Nama Nageswara Rao of TRS says child labour should see better regulation and that bonuses to workers should be proportional to profits, "if the employer reaps a big profit, the bonus should be proportionally increased."

"It is just reorganisation of bills. I disagree that this is a historic Bill," says Supriya Sadananda Sule (NCP). She says PSU employees haven't been paid by the government and this Bill doesn't raise the spirits of the common man, she says.

Rajya Sabha | 4.38 p.m.

Naresh Gujral (SAD, Punjab), speaking in favour of the Bill says, "I am glad that this law has finally criminalised triple talaq...when sati was abolished, there was a huge hue and cry. Similarly, the Dowry Act, Sarada Act [banning child marriages] faced opposition."

CPI(M)'s K.K. Ragesh calls the Bill an assault on plurality. The hidden agenda of the government behind the Bill, he says is to send Muslim husbands to jail.

Sanjay Singh of AAP asks for non-discriminatory laws.

Lok Sabha | 4.00 p.m.

Lok Sabha discusses the Code on Wages, 2019.  N.K. Premachandran is in the Chair

DMK MP D. Ravikumar says one is afraid that the labour rights won over the years would end up being tarnished by the Code on Wages' clauses on minimum wages.

He says minimum wages for farm labour should be revised every two years, while other for labour, minimum wages need to be revised every four years.

Prof. Saugata Roy (AITC) says the condition of workers is very bad. "The workers will have bargaining power only as long as the management makes a profit," he says. 

He says there are no unions for the IT and call centre industries, adding that workers are losing basic rights.

Rajya Sabha | 3.40 p.m.

Saroj Pandey (BJP) accuses Congress of playing politics. She says the three-year imprisonment will impart fear on the minds of men who wish to use instant talaq route. "Women are not votebanks," she says.

Narendra Jadhav (Nominated) says he supports the Bill. He however has one question. The alimony and prison term are contrary to each other.

TKS Elangovan (DMK) the government should have brought a Bill to find alternative way of divorce. Only instant divorce has been banned, not divorce. Taking a leaf out of Pakistan's legislation, he suggest the Bill must be withdrawn.

Nazir Ahmed Laway (PDP) says he comes from Kashmir and he is happy to see the debate on the welfare of Muslim women and men. If the Bill should have been to protect Indian Women, then the doubts of the community would have been erased.

Majid Memon (NCP) says when SC pronounces a judgment, it becomes a law by itself. "For the purposes of giving effect to a law made by the SC, you are bringing about another law? You have to adequately promulgate the law in place by SC, but the government has failed to do so," he says. 

He adds, "How do you expect a Muslim man to be sent to jail for committing no offence? According to SC judgment, the triple talaq is ineffective. So there is no offence," he adds.

Rajya Sabha | 3.15 pm

Rajya Sabha continues to discuss the Triple Talaq Bill. Muslim marriages are a civil contract. There shouldn't be a criminal remedy for a civil contract, says YSRCP member Vijaisai Reddy.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad says the Bill is a misnomer. The Bill claims to protect Muslim women but the idea is to destruct Muslim families. He claims the Bill is reintroduced after "cosmetic surgery".  We Indian Muslims are proud Indians, secular, socialist and democratic. We don't follow the rules of other countries, he says.

Will you enforce every minority judgment? The Supreme Court also asked you to frame a law on mob lynching. Will you you bring a law? he says.  Calling it an unconstitutional Bill, he reiterates it must be sent to Select Committee.

Lok Sabha | 2.55 p.m.

The Chair puts the Bill to vote. A voice vote is undertaken. Motion to vote on the Bill is passed.

A clause-by-clause vote is now being undertaken. Opposition's amendments have been negated.

Lok Sabha passes the The Consumer Protection Bill 2019.

The House takes up the next Bill for consideration and passing, The Code on Wages, 2019

Lok Sabha | 2.40 p.m.

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan is speaking in the House, responding to questions on the Bill.

He assures MPs that consumers' interests regarding E-commerce will be addressed.

INC MP Shashi Tharoor has three points in his speech:

 -- The arbitration clause should not be allowed in consumer forum, as it limits forum's power to help consumer.

-- Law should take precedence over limited liability clauses.

--  The definition of services in the Bill excludes free services. Mr. Tharoor points out that government hospitals, for example, give free services but consumers are compensated for negligence.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy:

"Telephone companies disconnect phone connections if bills are not paid, but if phones disconnect on their own, there are call drops, I cannot say I won't pay. Because they'll cut the connection. Similarly, if power is not provided 24 hours, it is my pregorative to not pay, but that option is not available."

"We are not able to provide protection in areas where are monopolies," he says.

One MP brings attention to Clause 62, says it is a mischevous clause. "Why should the national commission intervene on the State's right to investigate the matter?

Vishnu Prasad suggests that the advertisements go to a special board so they don't mislead consumers.

Mr. Paswan says the way is clear for consumers to go to court if they are unsatisfied with anything.

Rajya Sabha | 2.15 p.m.

SP MP Javed Ali Khan speaks, opposing the Bill.

"This Bill does not have women's interests at heart," he says. "There are so many women who have been abandoned by their husbands in this country. Has the government planned to bring in a law to penalise husbands who have abandoned their wives and do not divorce them?"

AIADMK MP A. Navaneethakrishnan labels the Bill as "unconstitutional and illegal".

He reads out passages from Constitution guarantee certain rights under personal law and says Bill also deals with these areas.  He points out that the Bill says it will come into effect in September 2018. "This is unconstitutional," he says.

He also points out that Muslim marriages are a civil contract and that the offense of flouting a civil contract cannot be made into a criminal offense.

"The practice of triple talaq has already been declared null and void, and unconstitutional. It is not recognised in Muslim law. It is only an empty phrase now. So merely because a Muslim husband says triple talaq, it cannot affect the societly. Pronouncing 'triple talaq' has no effect now. So section 4 cannot stand scrutiny."

The matter of children's custory is already governed by a secular law that says the welfare of children is paramount consideration regarding all matters of custody, says Mr. Navaneethakrishnan.  He points out that custody issues are to be handled by higher courts like district courts or higher, not under a magistrate, as given in the Bill. 

"I am of the view that a magistrate cannot be entrusted with this issue."

He points out that the Bill says that the custody of the children is to be given to the mother. "The welfare of the children is paramount and custody should be given to the parent best suited for it, irrespective of whether it is the mother of father," he says.

Mr. Navaneethakrishnan asks for the Bill to be sent to the select committee for further scrutiny.

Deputy Chairman says Mr. Navaneethakrishnan has used the entire time allotted for the AIADMK and there shall be no further speakers from the party.

Rajya Sabha | 2.00 p.m.

 

Rajya Sabha resumes. TMC MP Dola Sen speaks.

"There are two motions tabled today. First is to send the Bill to a select committee, second motion is for consideration and passing of the Bill," she says. "Only 26% of Bills were sent to any committee for scrutiny in the last LS. In the current session, more bulldozing is happening. Out of 16 Bills, only one has been sent for scrutiny," she says.

Just because the government has a majority, doesn't mean they can bypass parliamentary democracy, says Ms. Sen.

"This govt is trying to link the passage of this Bill to women empowerment, so lets talk about women empowerment. Only 14% of members in this LS are women. The government is saying this is historic, but this is shameful.

"I represent TMC, a party in which 41% of MPs in LS are women. In last LS, 35% of TMC MPs were women. I represent a party which now has the only elected woman CM in India," says Ms. Sen.  "We do not pay lip service to women empowerment like 'Beti Bachao' scheme. 56% of funds has been spent only for publicity."

"You (BJP) owe your birth and identity to an organisation in Nagpur, whose chief in 2013 said a husband and wife are joined by social contract and if the women fails in her duties, she can abandoned," says Ms. Sen.

The House immediately erupts, asking for Ms. Sen's statement to be examined.

Deputy Chairman asks Ms. Sen to continue.

"That statement is why the figure of abandoned and deserted women is 23L in our country," she continues.

BJP members are still shouting.

"If this government is really serious about women's empowerment, bring the Women's Reservation Bill. You're extending the Parliament, extend it for one more day and bring the Bill that will benefit 60,000 women. Otherwise, shhh!"

Ms. Sen asks for the removal of the "draconian" criminality clause.

"Will the wife not be allowed to remarry for three years? What will she do once he is out of jail? How will the husband pay maintanence if he in jail? Where will he get the money from? "

"Do not mock Parliament by passing this Bill today and send this Bill to a Select Committee. I ask this House to vote in favour of sending this Bill to a committee for scrutiny," says Ms. Sen to applause in the House.

Lok Sabha | 1.40 p.m.

Supriya Sule (NCP) aks who do we turn to for food adultration. She recalls how a popular FMCG product was caught in a storm over safety. Without naming Maggi, she asks why was it banned then, why was the ban revoked now?

Aparajita Sarangi (BJP) lauds the Bill. She points out the disposal of cases are very slow in consumer commission. The CCPA will provide swift executive intervention. The product liablity action is a new feature. Mediation too will speed up the case.

Abdul Majeed (CPI-M) wonders if the Act can provide relief to those who bought imported spurious goods. What about the loss of valuables kept in bank lockers? he asks.

Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) opposes the Bill. You have succumbed before the medical lobby, he says. The women reservation clause has been removed.

Lok Sabha | 1.05 p.m.

BJP MP Ajay Misra talks about consumer protection regarding e-commerce websites.

TDP Jaydev Galla says the Bill does not have any indication of healthcare. Not only paid services, but also free services in government hospitals should be brought under this Bill.

"Consumers' justice is anything but quick or simple, and the Bill has no mentions of this. How do you plan to simplify the process," asks Mr. Galla.

"The Bill is also silent on surrogate advertising, like those for alcohol, cigarettes and paan masala. There are are ads that also claim that doctors advocate a particular toothpaste or drink. The Bill does not tackle that," says Mr. Galla.

He also asks for more funds for the 'Jaago Grahak Jaago' campaign, and for private channels to play consumer protection ads for five minutes every hour.

Girish Bapat (BJP) speaks in Marathi.

Rajya Sabha | 12.55 p.m.

House has a loud argument about breaking for lunch.

Chairman has said we will have a continuing discussion on this Bill, so those who want to go for lunch can go, says deputy chairman.

"You want to do lunch, you want do finish dinner here also? Is this a cinema house," asks Ghulam Nabi Azad.

"I cannot condense by 11 min speech in five minutes," says TMC MP Dola Sen, when deputy chairman says she can continue her speech after lunch. "It's only 11 minutes, let me speak," says Ms. Sen

"We will sit late today if need be, because there are two ordinances after this as well," says the Deputy Chairman.

"This is not right. I cannot take a break in between my speech. It is my maiden speech. Give me my 11 minutes together," says Ms. Sen.

House adjourns for lunch, to reconvene at 2 p.m.

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

JD(U) MP Bashistha Narain Singh speaks, but TMC MP Derek O'Brien interrupts saying they should have been the next to speak. "We are the third largest party. If the BJP does not choose to speak after Congress, we should have. Why is the JD(U) speaking?"

RS Deputy Chairman says the TMC member was not in the House their turn came about and asks Mr. Singh to continue.

But protesting against the Bill, NDA ally JD(U) stages a walk out.

Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi replies to INC MP Amee Yajnik's statement.

He brings up the Shah Bano case and says how the Congress government brought up a law to enforce the SC judgement in the case. "If we are bringing a law on the heels of the SC judgement, it is to enforce the law, to make it "prabhavi", not "nishprabhavi"," he says.

Responding to Ms. Yajnik's question about what the goverment has done for women in the last five years, Mr. Naqvi lists out the BJP government's schemes -- Beti Bachao, the Sukanya Samriddhi scheme, and more. He points out that the Modi government made it possible for Muslim women to go on the Haj yatra without 'Mahram'.

Speaking on the topic of Muslim Personal Law, Mr. Naqvi says it is important that there be a debate on the issue of whether a common law will be applicable across the country on this topic.

Lok Sabha | 12.10 p.m.

DMK member V. Kalanidhi speaks about two bananas sold for 400 rupees in a five star hotel. The person got justice because he was a celebrity. What will happen to a common man, he asks. "Even the PM meets only celebrities. He didn't meet farmers who were protesting for many months," he notes.

He suggests a mechanism for filing complaints must be checked. "How many people will go to a consumer court, when they were charged Rs. 2 extra?"

Dr. Kalanidhi, a practicing medical professional, says there are several frivolous cases are being filed against doctors. The insurance companies must also be checked. They don't give the full reimbursement even if the patient is eligible, he says.

Protima Mondal (Trinamool) says the Bill fails to indict the celibrity brand endorsers of spurious claims. They have a lot of fan following. They must be responsible in choosing products they endorse, she says.

She narrates a case of how a woman approached the consumer court claiming she gained weight despite using a 'lite' butter. The woman lost the case as the lawyer argued, the butter was indeed 'light' and doesn't say it will help weight reduction! Consumer Protection is a continuous process. I hope the Bill will undergo changes, she says.

Rajya Sabha | 12 noon

Rajya Sabha takes up the triple talaq Bill, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019 Bill

Moving the Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the proposed legislation should be not seen through a political prism or vote bank politics, as it aims to ensure gender dignity and equality. “This issue should not be seen through a political prism or votebank politics. This is a question of humanity. This is for ensuring justice to women, dignity and empowerment to women and to ensure gender dignity and equality,” he says.

He says after the Supreme Court judgement banning instant triple talaq as many as 574 cases of of the illegal practice have come to the notice of the government. He adds that after the last ordinance issued by the government criminalising the practice, as many as 101 cases have come to light.

“The judgement has come, but no action on triple talaq has been taken. That is why we have brought this law, because the law is a deterrence,” he says.

Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks for a civil discussion in the House. "This is an important Bill, please keep that in mind."

INC MP Amee Yajnik: This Bill does not seem to have a thoughful consideration of the women's situation. The Bill has brought in a criminalisation angle.

Ms. Yajnik talks about the fate of the woman whose husband will end up in jail because of this Bill. She points out that if the husband is in jail, how will she survive?

She also says women across religions, across caste face desertion. "Why does this government not care about the plight of all women?, she asks.

"We have not taken into consideration the plight of all the women. I am not against this Bill. I am all for this Bill, but this Bill does not consider problems of all women," she says.

"This Bill is to abolish triple talaq, but the SC has already struck it down. How can you bring a law to strike down something that has already been struck down by the SC?," she asks.

Ms. Yajnik also says the Bill brings a stranger, an alien factor, into the private realm of husband and wife and says it violates the dignity of the woman. "This Bill is useless if it does not uphold the dignity of the woman."

The Bill does not provide for legal aid, she says. "How does the woman know she has the right to legal aid?" Ms. Yajnik also points out that the women will want their husbands, so they will insist on bail.

Providing of maintanence on the discretion of the magistrate: Ms. Yajnik says the Bill does not define what this means. She also asks, "How is the husband going to give maintenance if he already going to face criminal proceedings?"

She also points out that the Bill does not specify what is to be done about the children while the parents are fighting it out in court. "Psychological counselling for children, care of children, all of this is given a complete go by in the Bill."

The Bill also does not take into account the trauma and the stigma that the wife and children will have to face, she says.

"I don't like that I have to talk about a Hindu woman or a Muslim woman or a Parsi woman. She is a mother, a sister, a daughter, a sister. Empower ALL women. Give them economic empowerment, social empowerment so they can walk with their head held high."

"I am all for this Bill, but I do not support the criminalisation."

Lok Sabha | 12 noon

INC MP Vishnu Prasad attempts some poetry. "Every time this Bill is introduced, there is some modificaton. But is it modification or Modi-fication?"

"This era of this government is the era of opaqueness. This Bill is a one-line agenda, a centralisation of all the powers. What is point in having so many clauses, when you club everything together and say, at EOD, central government will rule?"

"UPA government with pride can say, we brought Aadhaar card. But this government made it a 'bother' card. This Aadhaar card is a botheration," he says to chuckles in the House.

He points out that the Bill provides no way for the consumer to go up against the government.

Lok Sabha | 11.40 a.m.

Opposition wants a CBI inquiry into the accident that the Unnao rape victim was in. Meenakshi Lekhi, who is in the Chair, says the investigation is already underway. "We are discussing an important Bill here, please stick to the agenda," she says.

Speaker Om Birla is back in the Chair.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury: "This incident is a shameful incident. This government is always talking about the safety and empowerment of women, but look what is happening. The perpetrator should be punished.

"Why were the security personnel not in the car with the victims?"

"We have agreed to discuss only legislative issues here," says Mr. Birla. "Please do that only."

"We do not have faith in the government on this issue," Mr. Chowdhury goes on to say.

DMK MP Kanimozhi tries to bring up the sexist remarks by Mr. Azam Khan. "When a woman was insulted in the House.." she begins, but the Speaker does not allow her to speak.

Durga Prasad Rao Balli speaks on the Consumer Protection Bill 2019, after the Speaker asks the House to quiet down. "Want to ask what are the exemptions that are not mentioned under this Bill."

"There is no time frame for the disposal of the cases," he goes to to say, as shouting begins in the House again.

 

Lok Sabha | 11.25 a.m.

Rajendra Agarwal (BJP) speaks about getting a brick when someone he knew ordered a mobile phone.

Shouts of 'We want justice!' can be heard in the House.

The person endorsing the product will also be brought under the purview of this Bill, says Mr. Agarwal.

Rajya Sabha | 11.20 a.m.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) speaks on water shortage and schemes for the eviction of people who live on filled-in water bodies.

Amar Patnaik (BJD) says that existing crop insurance needs to be enhanced in rain-fed and irrigated land, under the National Disaster Response Fund.

T.K.S. Elangovan (DMK) speaks about the textile industry and textile machinery manufacturing, which has seen sluggish demand in the last few years.

Lok Sabha | 11.15 am

Amid sloganeering, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan seeks permission to consider the passing of The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019.

The Consumer Protection Act came into effect in 1986 and since then the law has not been revisited, Mr. Paswan says. Sloganeering interrupts his speech. His deputy Raosahab Patil Danve says the Bill was conceived after a GoM and had passed Standing Committee scrutiny as well. He speaks on the salient features of the Bill.

This Bill is a result of a 2017 discussion in the Rajya Sabha, when Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu narrated his experience with a spurious weight-loss advertisement and how he lost money but never got the medicine. Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan had promised then that a Bill on consumer protection would be tabled soon.

Lok Sabha | 11.05 am

In Lok Sabha, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury takes up the issue of accident of Unnao rape survivor. "We demand a CBI inquiry. The Home Minister should make a statement in the House," Mr. Chowdhury says.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Parlhad Joshi says the issue musn't be politicisied. "A CBI inquiry is underway. An FIR has been filed," he says. Jagdambika Pal (BJP) claims the truck belonged a Samajwadi Party leader.

Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti also accuses Samajwadi Party of diverting the issue.

Opposition members raise slogans.

Rajya Sabha | 11.05 am

Rajya Sabha proceeds with Zero Hour. S. Muthukaruppan (AIADMK) seeks to include Tamil as an optional language in other States. "The same should be done in Tamil Nadu also for other languages," the Chair says.

Opposition members seek suspension of Zero Hour to discuss the attack on Unnao rape survivor. After pandemonium, the Chair reins in.

11.00 am

Rajya Sabha assembles. Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. Papers are being laid on the table.

In Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla reads obituary reference of Jaipal Reddy. The House pays tribute to the late Reddy.

10.40 am

Opposition parties — SP, BSP, DMK and TMC — joined hands to protest against the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday.

Opposition parties — SP, BSP, DMK and TMC — joined hands to protest against the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: R.V> Moorthy

The Samajwadi Party, BSP, Trinamool Congress and DMK protested against the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. They flagged the attack on Unnao rape survivor, the assault of retired Army personnel and the forced chanting of Jai Shree Ram in the State.

10.15 am

Agenda for the day

Rajya Sabha

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019.

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Lok Sabha

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019.

The Code on Wages, 2019.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 2:12:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-live-updates-budget-session-july-30-2019/article28755185.ece

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