Oppn foils govt move on triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha

Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the govt of breaking the tradition of sending bills to select committees for scrutiny before they become a law.

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha failed to initiate a discussion on the contentious triple talaq bill on Monday, with a combative Opposition sticking to its demand that the bill be referred to a select committee of the House for proper scrutiny. Law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled the Muslim women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 hoping for a discussion on the issue, but the House failed to transact any significant business during the day amid a stalemate between the government and the Opposition on the issue.

The House was adjourned for the day amidst a din after it was earlier adjourned twice, with an adjournment in the morning following protests by AIADMK members over the Cauvery issue. The House also saw another brief 15-minute adjournment in the afternoon soon after the triple talaq bill was tabled.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the bill was very crucial and required further scrutiny, and claimed that more than half of the members belonging to several parties had demanded the bill be sent to a select committee. He accused the government of breaking the tradition of sending bills to select committees for scrutiny before they become a law.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Vijay Goel said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue and accused the Congress of creating hurdles in the passage of the legislation. He said the Congress has already supported the bill in the Lok Sabha earlier.

“The Congress and other parties are only playing politics on this issue, which is very important for ensuring the rights of married Muslim women,” he said. Hitting back, Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said: “It is the government which is doing politics. Nobody is opposing the bill. Let there be legislative scrutiny.” He added: “The government is misleading the people. If the bill was passed without legislative scrutiny in the Lok Sabha, it should not be passed here without referring it to a select committee. The Rajya Sabha is not a rubber stamp.”

Responding to this, the law minister said: “This bill is very important. We want to discuss it here and are ready to listen to any suggestion. Even after bringing the ordinance, there have been incidents of triple talaq till yesterday. It is a question of gender equality. We want to discuss and pass the bill.”

Deputy chairman Harivansh said: “I want to run the House. We have agreed for a holiday tomorrow. The members should allow the House to function today.” As the members continued to create a din, the deputy chairman adjourned the House for the day till Wednesday. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday last week.

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