The Opposition in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday demanded that the bill that seeks to criminalise triple talaq be sent to a Select Committee. They made the demand at a meeting with Upper House Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu, where Union minister Vijay Goel represented the government, ANI reported.
The parties decided on this strategy on Tuesday morning, NDTV reported. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Biju Janata Dal, which help the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government pass key pieces of legislation in the Upper House on most occasions, was also on board with the decision.
“As far as Left parties are concerned, we want this bill to be referred to the Select Committee,” Communist Party of India leader D Raja told IANS. “But the BJP-led NDA government is bypassing the committee system.”
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters that the bill is likely to be introduced in the Upper House on Wednesday, and that the government will seek the Opposition’s support to get it passed.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, makes triple talaq – the practice by which Muslim men divorce their wives by saying talaq three times – a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in jail.
The Lok Sabha passed the bill on December 28 without any disruption as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government has the numbers to push legislation. The Lower House passed the bill after Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled it and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan held a voice vote for each clause.
Congress leaders had said they were in favour of the bill but wanted the government to refer it to the standing committee to correct some flaws.
On August 22, the Supreme Court had struck down triple talaq, calling the Islamic practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality before the law. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board had opposed the verdict, saying it was “contrary to the protection guaranteed by the Constitution of India”.