Citizenship bill that unsettled Northeast set to lapse as Rajya Sabha adjourns sine die
The citizenship bill and triple talaq bill, which were facing strong resistance from the opposition and even from some of the BJP’s allies, are set to lapse in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after the House was adjourned sine die on the last day of the Budget session.
The triple talaq bill, seeking to criminalise the Muslim practice with a provision of three years imprisonment to the husband, was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 27 last year with 245 votes in favour and 11 against it.
The opposition parties wanted the bill to be sent to the Select Committee of Parliament for further vetting, a demand rejected by the Centre. However, an ordinance was re-promulgated in January this year as the revised bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks a majority.
The issue of triple talaq was taken up in Parliament in August last year after the practice that allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering “talaq” three times in quick succession was ruled as “unconstitutional” by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court.
Similarly, the ruling party saw protests in the northeastern states against the BJP’s decision to go ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The proposed amendment was supposed to relax citizenship eligibility criteria for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, Christians and Buddhists who came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh for reasons of religious persecution. The contentious bill was also passed by the Lok Sabha last month.
In a meeting on January 29, ten regional outfits including allies of the BJP, the National Peoples’ Party (NPP), in Meghalaya, the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in Nagaland, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) among others had passed a resolution opposing the bill. In BJP-ruled Assam, the party’s coalition partner AGP recently quit the government in protest.
On Monday, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu had changed his stance on the citizenship bill and asked Union home minister Rajnath Singh not to table the bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Last week, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said his National People’s Party would quit the NDA if the bill is not scrapped. The Nagaland cabinet has also rejected the bill following pressure from various tribal organisations and students bodies.