Ahead of debate on Triple Talaq Bill today, Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2pm
The fresh bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance or the executive order criminalising the practice.Updated: Dec 31, 2018 12:02 IST
Hours before the Triple Talaq Bill could be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Monday, the Upper House of Parliament was adjourned till 2pm after the Opposition created an uproar over various issues.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a whip asking its Rajya Sabha members to be present in Parliament’s upper house as it seeks to have the bill criminalising the practice of instant divorce among a section of Muslims passed on Monday.
Lok Sabha cleared the bill on Thursday with 245 voting in its favour and 11 against it. The Congress, other opposition parties, and even the BJP’s friendly party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, staged a walkout from Lok Sabha to protest against the bill.
The fresh bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance or the executive order criminalising the practice. The ordinance was issued in September after the government failed to have an earlier version of the bill passed in Rajya Sabha in December last year.
The fresh bill provides for a jail term of three years for a husband quality of pronouncing instant divorce. It supersedes the earlier bill, which sought to make instant divorce a punishable, cognisable and a non-bailable offence.
Watch: Triple Talaq bill passed in Lok Sabha
The government has brought some amendments, including the introduction of a bail provision, to make the bill more acceptable amid opposition to the bill. Opposition parties have suggested the bill be sent to a joint select committee for further review.
In Kochi, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal told reporters on Saturday that his party would join hands with others to prevent the bill from getting passed in the upper house. He said 10 opposition parties come out against the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, when it was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Opposition leaders have claimed to have the support of 116 members in the upper house, which is enough to stall the bill where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government is still in a minority. Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had underlined there was no politics involved in the bill and that it was not against any community.
BJP chief Amit Shah called the passage of the bill in Lok Sabha a historic step towards ensuring equality and dignity for the Muslim women. He demanded an apology from the Congress for “decades of injustice”.
Earlier this month, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor expressed doubt if Parliament had the competence and jurisdiction to bring such a law. Tharoor opposed the introduction of the fresh bill saying “it has no procedural safeguards to prevent its misuse”. He added the bill “conflates civil law with criminal law by criminalising a wrong form of divorce and by criminalising an act which is already legally null and void”.
The Supreme Court banned the instant divorce, calling the practice “unconstitutional” in August 2017. Tharoor called the proposed law “an attempt in creating class-specific legislation on the grounds of religion, instead of focusing on the larger issue of mistreatment and desertion of wives and dependents”.