Rajya Sabha likely to send talaq Bill to select panel

Cross-party consultations on the cards

Updated - December 30, 2017 01:08 am IST

Published - December 30, 2017 01:05 am IST - New Delhi

Mallikarjun Kharge wanted  a standing committee to  go through the Bill.

Mallikarjun Kharge wanted a standing committee to go through the Bill.

The House of Elders is likely to send the legislation making instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years, to a select committee.

Cross-party consultations are likely to be held on the issue before the Bill comes to the Rajya Sabha on January 2.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had pressed for the Bill to be sent to a standing committee. The Congress is likely to a make similar demand in the Upper House too. In the Lok Sabha, Congress MPs Sushmita Dev and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had moved amendments seeking an independent corpus for affected women and to remove the “criminality” clause in the legislation.

According to a senior Congress leader, in the Rajya Sabha too, the party will press for these amendments.

“We are not against the triple talaq Bill, but we are against the draft presented by the government. We want a legislation that will be a bulwark for Muslim women. At the same time sending Muslim men to jail will not necessarily help the cause,” a Congress MP said.

According to sources, the government had initially planned to table the Bill on Friday, as it is usually a lean day for Parliament with most MPs leaving for their constituencies by afternoon. “We got a whiff of the government’s plan to table the Bill when the Opposition benches would have been thinly occupied. We phoned up Opposition party leaders to press Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to assure that the Bill will not be tabled on Friday,” a senior Congress leader said.

The AIADMK, the BJD, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left parties are clear that the legislation should be sent to a select committee.

If the Congress does join them, together they will have 109 votes. “This legislation will have far-reaching implications. It should have been sent to a standing committee, but the government does not believe in Parliamentary processes. So, we will push it to be sent to a select committee,” CPI MP D. Raja said.

The Trinamool Congress, which remained quiet during the debate in the Lok Sabha, continues to keep its own counsel. It is a remarkable departure for the TMC which has been voluble on all major legislations. “What is the point of revealing your strategy or stand in the Lok Sabha where it would have no impact. It is a sensitive issue and we will take a considered stand in the Rajya Sabha,” the TMC said.

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