Congress accuses govt of pushing talaq bill despite absence of its MPs
The Opposition on Wednesday targeted the government in the Rajya Sabha for not sending important bills, including the triple talaq bill, to a select committee for scrutiny even after seeking the opinion of different parties on the matter.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said opposition parties had identified six of 23 bills as A-category and demanded that they be sent to a select committee. The parties had been under the impression that the triple talaq bill would be sent to a select committee, which was why several of their MPs had not been present in the House when it was passed.
An Opposition-sponsored motion to send the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, informally known as the triple talaq bill, to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha was put to vote on Tuesday. It was defeated 99 to 84.
“My submission to the government is that while, on the one hand, you are seeking a list of bills from the Opposition to be sent to a select committee, on the other, you put them for passage in the House and get them passed,” Azad said.
He said the government had approached the Opposition and asked which bills it wanted sent to a select committee. “We identified six bills as A-category for sending to the committee and two as B-category and the list was taken by the government... Unfortunately, that bill (triple talaq) was listed at night.”
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said the triple talaq bill and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, were at the top of the list of bills the Opposition wanted examined by a select committee. He said everyone was taken by surprise when the two bills were on the list of business on Monday and Tuesday.
“We seek your (Chair’s) protection. We want to examine these bills. If the government has the numbers, it can pass the bills. But let’s fight for the integrity of Parliament,” he said.
Earlier, O’Brien had tweeted on the issue: “#Parliament is supposed to scrutinize Bills. This chart explains the bulldozing this Session. Are we delivering pizzas or passing legislation? #ConstructiveOpposition.”
Responding to the Opposition in the Upper House, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the Chair had earlier noted that eight of 10 bills in the last two years were sent to a select committee.
“This reflects the government’s intention. The UAPA bill didn’t go to the select committee when it came up twice during the UPA regime. It is not like all these six bills have to go to a select committee,” he said.