The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have issued whips to their MPs in the Rajya Sabha, ordering them to be present in the House during a discussion on the triple talaq bill on Monday, PTI reported.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill – which criminalises the practice of Muslim men divorcing their wives by uttering “talaq” three times in spoken or written forms, or via electronic communication – was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 27 after the Congress and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam walked out in protest.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will move the bill. On Friday, Prasad claimed that the Upper House would pass the bill even though the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance lacks a majority there.

Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal told reporters on Saturday that his party would join others in preventing the passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. Even parties such as the AIADMK, which back the government on other matters, have opposed the draft law, he pointed out. “All 10 Opposition parties had expressed their disapproval when the bill was presented in the Lok Sabha,” Venugopal added.

The Congress is against a clause in the bill that criminalises the practice and wants it to be referred to a joint select committee for detailed examination. The government has rejected this demand.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September. It also replaces an earlier draft legislation that was passed by the Lok Sabha but is pending in the Upper House because of protests by the Opposition. The government had to introduce a bail provision in the current bill to make it more acceptable for the Opposition.