Even as the government moved to push the triple talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha on Monday, opposition parties are keen on a discussion on the motion to send the Bill to a select committee and not just turn it into a test of numbers.
Two motions have been submitted on this, one with Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad as first signatory and the other as TMC Parliamentary Party leader Derek O’Brien as first signatory.
O’Brien’s one-line notice states, “That the Bill to protect the rights of married Muslim women and to prohibit divorce by pronouncing talaq by their husbands and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, as passed by Lok Sabha, be referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.”
The names proposed are A Navneethakrishnan (AIADMK), Ramgopal Yadav (SP), Y S Chowdary (TDP), Manoj Jha (RJD), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Vandana Chavan (NCP), Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Azad, Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), D Raja (CPI), and K K Ragesh (CPI-M). Azad’s notice was submitted on Monday afternoon. Whether it has been accepted will be clear on Wednesday, when the House meets again.
Rajya Sabha rules allow any member to move a motion for reference to a select committee, provided the Bill has not already been scrutinised by a joint committee of both Houses. That instrument is not available in Lok Sabha, which is why Opposition MPs had “requested” Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for referring it to a select committee but did not insist.
Once admitted in Rajya Sabha, a motion for reference to the select committee can either be put to vote straightaway, or voting can take place after discussion. With the numbers stacked against the government, opposition parties want not just voting on the Bill but also a discussion. This, leaders said, would give them the scope to question the government’s intentions not just about the Bill but also express what they feel – that the government has repeatedly attempted to bypass the House through instruments such as Money Bills.