Triple talaq bill not tabled in Rajya Sabha, deferred to next session
The contentious Triple talaq bill, which seeks to criminalise the practice of instant divorce, could not be taken up for discussion and passage in Rajya Sabha on the last day of the Monsoon session on Friday. There was no consensus among political parties on the proposed legislation.
The government is said to be considering bringing an ordinance to outlaw the practice as its efforts to get the bill passed in Parliament have again failed.
“A decision will be taken soon in this regard. The government is committed to protecting the interest of Muslim women,” a minister familiar with the developments said on condition of anonymity.
The Congress-led Opposition has been demanding that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, be subject to further scrutiny.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, which does not have a majority in Parliament’s Upper House, had tried to get the bill cleared earlier in the budget session as well.
Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he has decided that the bills “on which there is some sort of broad consensus” will be taken up for discussion and passage when the house reconvened after two adjournments.
Naidu clarified the Triple Talaq Bill will not be taken up as consensus has not yet been evolved on the issue.
The Union cabinet had on Thursday cleared some amendments to the draft bill and included a bail provision.
The amendments came after the Supreme Court on August 22 last year struck down the practice of triple talaq, calling it unconstitutional.
The Lok Sabha had passed the bill in December. The amendments to the draft legislation once cleared in Rajya Sabha will again be sent to the Lower House for passage.
Congress plays vote-bank politics, says BJP
Accusing the Congress of “hypocrisy, double standards and continuous pandering to vote-bank politics”, Union minister for law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday slammed the party for its stance on triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha.
“The three amendments to the bill had addressed all the concerns... Yet the Congress insisted on sending it to a select committee... It shows they are not interested in justice for victims,” he said.
The amendments to the bill cleared by the cabinet on Thursday, allowed the magistrate to grant bail after hearing the wife; and made the offence of instant triple talaq “compoundable”.
Prasad said that there have been over 300 women victims of triple talaq ever since the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. “Congress has been led by a distinguished lady, Sonia Gandhi. But from the time of Shah Bano to Shayara Bano, it remains confined to vote-bank politics. Gender justice is entirely alien to the party...”
The Shah Bano reference is to the Congress using its legislative strength to nullify the effect of an SC judgement to grant maintenance to a Muslim widow. The Shayara Bano was the original petitioner in the triple talaq case, which led to the SC verdict.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi told reporters, “Our party’s position is absolutely clear on this, I will not say anything further.” Congress has objected to the criminalisation part of the instant triple talaq bill.