Triple Talaq Bill: Time Running Out, Rajya Sabha Adjourned Again


New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha today continued with the historic debate on the bill on triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, after the debate was stalled on Wednesday following a united opposition’s face-off with the government over the former’s demand to send the bill to a select panel.

Amid noisy scenes, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 for discussion and passage on Wednesday, but pandemonium broke out in the Upper House with the opposition creating an uproar and the BJP countering it vociferously.

The House, which had met at 3 pm after witnessing three adjournments over the Maharashtra caste violence, also witnessed procedural wranglings from both sides.
The bill, which seeks to make instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband, was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 28.

As heated exchanges continued despite warnings and appeals, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the House for the day, without giving any ruling on the validity of the opposition’s motion on the select panel. Discussion on the triple talaq debate starts in the Rajya Sabha, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley leading the government’s charge. Congress is trying to sabotage the bill, Arun Jaitley says, while adding that the opposition’s demand to send the bill to a select panel was not valid.

Congress leader Anand Sharma, who moved the motion regarding the demand for the select committee, leads the opposition’s charge. TMC MP Derek O’Brien and BJP minister Smriti Irani have a face-off as the TMC leader accuses the government of not doing enough to empower women. “Its clear that this side(opposition) wants to empower women, and you, the government, stand exposed.” To this, Irani retorted, “Absolutely not, if you seriously want to empower women then have a discussion now.”

After fierce showdown on the bill, the House has been adjourned to 11 am on Friday. The chair of the House decided to not take up the triple talaq issue as there was no consensus on the matter.

Attacking the opposition over their stand on the issue, BJP minister Smriti irani said, “Opposition exposed over triple talaq bill. Their attitude in the House shows if they are for the welfare of Muslim women.”

Govt wants to destroy Muslim families. It is not for gender justice. The entire Opposition is speaking in one voice. The Govt is isolated in the House: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal
MoS PMO Jitendra Singh also joined Irani in criticising the opposition, saying, “It’s unfortunate and I am sure people of the country are watching. The opposition has not been able to explain on which precise points they want to send the bill to the committee.”

This bill will fail to protect the interest of Muslim women. The government must make a provision for maintenance, says Congress leader Anand Sharma while defending the opposition’s demand.