A senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Janata Dal (United) on Thursday came out in opposition to the government’s bill on triple talaq, NDTV reported.
Bashistha Narain Singh, who represents the JD(U) in the Rajya Sabha and is the chief of its Bihar unit, said his party would vote against the government’s proposed law in its current form. “We feel the way this bill is being rushed, it was avoidable and we feel more consultation should have taken place,” he told NDTV.
Singh told IANS that “the matter is related to a big community” and the government should not have been in a hurry to bring the draft law to the Upper House.
On Monday, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned amid an uproar over the contentious draft law. The Opposition wants the bill to be examined by a parliamentary select committee.
Earlier on Thursday, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was open to constructive suggestions from the Opposition. “We will decide on the floor of the House when I speak there,” he said, when asked why the government was not agreeing to the Opposition’s demand. “We have already improved a lot of things. A select committee is important, but the plight of victim women is equally important. I would appeal to MPs to listen to their plight.”
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill seeks to make the practice of triple talaq – which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives by uttering talaq three times in spoken or written forms, or via electronic communication – a penal offence.
It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September. The new Bill will replace 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 make a few changes to the law, including the introduction of a provision of bail for men accused of practising triple talaq, to make it more acceptable. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 27 after the Congress and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham members walked out in protest.