Govt looks to push triple talaq bill in Parliament, braces for Opposition offensive
Passage of a bill to make instant triple talaq illegal and a punitive offence will be one of the priorities of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the winter session of Parliament, in which the Opposition is seeking to corner it on a range of issues, from the Rafale fighter jet deal to the internecine fight in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The session starts Monday, but the opening day will only see obituary references to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar. The beginning of the session will also coincide with the counting of votes in elections to the Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram assemblies.
New parliamentary affairs minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday that the state election results would have little impact on the winter session.
“Look, these election results after all are matters of state assemblies. I don’t think there’s any reason to think that developments in states are going to decide the agenda or the fate of a Parliament session. All political parties also understand these things and there are several issues—both from the government as well as the Opposition’s side—that need to be raised and discussed on the floor of the House,” Tomar told HT on Friday.
The government will prioritise replacing three ordinances, or executive orders—on triple talaq, Companies Act amendment and the Medical Council of India Act amendment—with full-fledged laws, officials said. The ordinance on triple talaq criminalised the practice of instance divorce in the Muslim community that has been declared arbitrary and against the tenets of Islam by the Supreme Court.
The Companies Act amendment ordinance altered several provisions in the Companies Act, 2013 relating to penalties, among others. The Medical Council of India Act amendment will allow the suppression of the body for a year and the constitution of a board of governors that will perform the council’s functions.
The session comes amid a renewed confrontation between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Opposition over a host of issues including alleged wrongdoing in the Rafale jet fighter deal that the government has strenuously denied, the feud between CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana that forced the government to strip both men of their powers, charges of sexual misconduct against former Union minister MJ Akbar, and the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India, among others.
“The government and the Opposition must find ways to discuss things in Parliament and run the House in an orderly manner...,” said former Parliamentary affairs secretary Afzal Amanullah.