NDA makes a point with triple talaq bill in House
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which leads the NDA, has 75 MPs in the current Rajya Sabha of 236 members, and needs the support of at least 44 more MPs to get the bill passed.Updated: Jun 22, 2019 00:04 IST
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has made a point by bringing the triple talaq Bill in the first session of the new Lok Sabha although passage of the legislation through the Rajya Sabha remains uncertain given the ruling coalition’s lack of a majority in the upper house, two senior ministers said on Friday.
The NDA government is confident the Bill will be passed by the lower house, where it has a majority greater than last time. The Lok Sabha passed a related bill twice in the past, and promulgated three ordinances when the house was not in session to enforce provisions of the proposed law.
“Let the opposition oppose it, we will keep making our point,” one of the two ministers said, admitting that passage of the bill Rajya Sabha strength remains a challenge. The minister requested anonymity.
Protests by opposition members forced a rare division (voting) before the introduction of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill. The ruling dispensation won the floor test by a vote of 186-74. Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “This is not a question of religion but about justice to women. This is a question of dignity of women and we are committed to protect it.”
The Bill seeks to make triple talaq, the Muslim practice wherein a husband utters the word talaq three times to divorce his wife, a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which leads the NDA, has 75 MPs in the current Rajya Sabha of 236 members, and needs the support of at least 44 more MPs to get the bill passed.
Its trouble lies in opposition from ally Janta Dal (United) and “friendly” party Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which have a combined strength of 11 MPs. BJP’s Tamil Nadu ally, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), which has 13 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, too, opposed the bill in December last year, calling it “barbaric.”
“We have limitations (in the Rajya Sabha),” a second senior minister said, also on condition of anonymity. “We will try our best.”
The second minister said BJP was not expecting support from the JD(U), which refused to join the central government after being offered only one ministerial post, but will try to convince the BJD and the AIADMK about merits of the case. If the AIADMK supports the BJP, getting the numbers will become easier, the minister said.
The BJP is sure of support from allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, which have three MPs each in the Rajya Sabha, besides around a dozen more such as representatives of the Republican Party of India, Sikkim Democratic Front, Bodoland People’s Front, Asom Gana Parsiahd (one MP each) besides independents and nominated MPs.
“If some parties abstain from voting, it will lower the effective strength of the house and, thereby, bring down the number of required MPs to pass any bill,” the second minister said.
First Published: Jun 22, 2019 00:04 IST