Weeks ahead of the general elections, the Union Cabinet has again given its nod to bring in an ordinance to criminalise the practice of triple talaq, which has been a major point of contention with the Opposition. The Cabinet also approved ordinances for three other Bills that were passed in the Lok Sabha but have lapsed now.
The Union government had brought in a similar ordinance in September making the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence. The Bill titled Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill to replace the ordinance did not pass through Parliament.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December after four hours of debate. But it hit a roadblock in Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have the numbers and the Opposition disrupted proceedings over accusations regarding the Rafale deal.
Announcing the new ordinance, along with three other ordinances, on Tuesday, Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley said the Bills for all four had been passed in the lower House but “due to disturbance in the Rajya Sabha they could not be passed”.
When asked why an ordinance was being brought just before elections, as in the past Presidents have refused ordinances in such times, Jaitley said that “these extraordinary situations do call for such steps”. He said that “these are matters which have been pending not for weeks or months, but for period much longer than that”, and that in all these matters “discussion has been physically prevented”.
Three of these ordinances “are such which are in larger national interest”, the minister said. But “if you don’t allow the Upper House to function… Indian democracy can’t be repressed”.
Another ordinance approved by the Cabinet is titled Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, which will “enable” a Board of Governors appointed in “supersession of Medical Council of India” to continue to exercise the powers of MCI.