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Published On: Wed, Jan 3rd, 2018

Triple talaq bill stalled in Rajya Sabha

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parliament_live-kpiF--621x414@LiveMintNEW DELHI : A united opposition Wednesday had a face-off with the government over the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha and stalled a debate on it insisting that it should be sent to a select panel, as the ruling BJP strongly sought its expeditious passage to stop the unlawful practice.

There was a fierce slugfest in the Rajya Sabha between the BJP and the Congress as soon as Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled the Triple Talaq Bill, forcing Deputy chairman PJ Kurien to adjourn the House for the day.

As soon as the Rajya Sabha convened after three adjournments at 3pm, the triple talaq bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week, was tabled in the House.

However, Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded that the bill be sent to a Parliamentary Select Committee and also proposed names of the panel members. To this, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of double speak, saying they had supported the bill in the Lok Sabha.

“The whole country is watching that in the other House you supported the Bill and in this house you are trying to derail it,” he said.
Amid noisy scenes, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 for discussion and passage, but pandemonium broke out in the Upper House with the opposition creating an uproar and the BJP countering it vociferously.
The bill, which seeks to make instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband, was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 28.
While the government emphasised the need to pass the bill on an urgent basis citing a Supreme Court judgement pronouncing triple talaq as unconstitutional, the opposition countered it saying the views of various stakeholders must be taken by the select panel.
While supporting the bill, the Opposition parties especially those from the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party, insisted that it be referred to a select panel for further scrutiny.
As heated exchanges continued despite warnings and appeals, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the House for the day, without giving any ruling on the validity of the opposition’s motion on the select panel.
– It is clear that the Congress party is opposing the triple talaq bill. The support they extended in Lok Sabha was a sham. Today was a golden moment for the House to end the injustice, but because of Congress it could not happen – Arun Jaitley
Reacting to it, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that a member cannot suddenly move a motion in such manner.”The house is taken by surprise that a motion is suddenly moved, it has not been submitted a day before. The motion has to be give at least 24 hours in advance,” he said.

He further accused the Congress of double standard on the issue of triple talaq bill, saying that the party supported the bill in Lok Sabha but was adopting a different stand on the same in Rajya Sabha. “You are trying to derail the bill,” he added.
Jaitley further explained why the government cannot send the bill to a Standing Committee saying, “Reason why it should not be referred (to select committee) is that when the practice was declared unconstitutional, two of the judges held it as unfair and used their extraordinary power to suspend it for six months, which expire on February 22.
He told Judges said ‘we are now suspending it for six months and we beseech all parties, therefore within this period come out with apt legislation’. So, there is an urgency that country expects from Parliament. Legislature must act with sense of responsibility.”

Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 11 am on Thursday following the ruckus in the House. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was cleared by the Lok Sabha through a voice vote on December 28, 2017 amid protests by several opposition parties.
According to the proposed law which would be applicable to the entire country except in Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant talaq would attract a jail term of upto three years and a fine. It would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence.
SP MP Naresh Agarwal insults Muslim women sitting in Rajya Sabha gallery, calls them ‘BJP imposters.
(With Agency Inputs ).

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