A united Opposition on Monday thwarted the government’s attempt to pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which criminalises instant Triple Talaq, in the Rajya Sabha, demanding that it be sent to a Select Committee.
The revised Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha three days ago, was expected to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling dispensation does not enjoy a majority and with AIADMK MPs also signalling their opposition.
The Upper House was adjourned till 2 pm after AIADMK members disrupted proceedings and trooped into the well raising the Cauvery issue and shouting slogans “We want Justice”.
After the triple talaq bill was tabled upon resumption of House proceedings, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the bill required further scrutiny and claimed that more than half of the members belonging to several parties have demanded that it be sent to a select committee.
“This is such an important bill which can positively or negatively affect the lives of crores of people can’t be passed just like this without going to a select committee,” he said. He also accused the NDA government of breaking the tradition of sending bills to select committees for scrutiny before they become law.
Senior TMC leader Derek O’Brien also echoed Azad’s demand. “All Opposition parties unanimously have decided that this bill must be sent to the select committee,” he said.
Accusing the Congress of creating hurdles in the passage of crucial legislation, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue. He said the Congress had already supported the bill in the Lok Sabha earlier. “The Congress and other parties are only playing politics on this issue which is very important for ensuring the rights of married Muslim women,” he said.
Deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma sought to turn the tables on the government, saying it was the BJP that was doing politics over the bill and demanded legislative scrutiny.
“The government is misleading the people. If the bill has been passed without legislative scrutiny in the Lok Sabha then it should not be passed here without referring to select committee. Rajya Sabha is not a rubber stamp,” he said.
However, AIADMK MPs again started protesting in the well of the House over the Cauvery issue and the Speaker adjourned the House till Wednesday.
The triple talaq Bill proposes a jail term of up to three years for the husband. Under the law, only an aggrieved woman or a close relative can file a police complaint against her husband. Also, she can drop the case if a couple reaches a compromise. Besides these, the magistrate can release the husband on bail after hearing the wife.