Rajya Sabha adjourned till Jan 2, Opposition demands Triple Talaq Bill be sent to select committee
With the govt pressing for a discussion on the Bill after Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled the same, the Opposition stuck to its demand of sending the Bill to a select committee
The Rajya Sabha on Monday failed to initiate a discussion on the contentious Triple Talaq Bill, with a united Opposition, led by the Congress, demanding that the draft law be sent to a select committee for scrutiny.
With the government pressing for a discussion on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 after Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled the same, the Opposition stuck to its demand of sending the Bill to a select committee.
Before the session began, leaders of Opposition parties met and decided the strategy for the day. They moved a resolution that the Bill should be sent to a select committee for review.
Amid a stalemate between the government and the Opposition over the issue, the House failed to transact any significant business during the day.
The House was adjourned for the day amid din over the issue. Earlier, the House was adjourned twice during the day. There was an adjournment in the morning following protests by AIADMK members over the Cauvery issue.
The House also saw another brief adjournment of 15 minutes in the afternoon soon after the Triple Talaq Bill was tabled.
All India Trinamool Congress leader Derek O Brien said all Opposition parties wanted the Bill to be sent to a select committee for proper examination.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also was of the opinion that the bill was very significant one and requires further scrutiny and said that more than half of the members belonging to several parties have demanded that 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. "Since the government does not send such bills to the standing committee, the opposition in the Rajya Sabha is forced to fight for sending them to select committee," he said.
Azad said the bill would affect crores of people in a positive or negative way and its scrutiny by parliament was essential. He said the opposition parties want to move a resolution that the bill should be sent to select committee.
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.
Hitting back, deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma said, "It is the government which is doing politics. Nobody is opposing the bill. Let there be legislative scrutiny".
"The government is misleading the people. If the bill has been passed without legislative scrutiny in the Lok Sabha then it should not be passed here without referring to select committee. Rajya Sabha is not a rubber stamp," he said.
Responding to this, Ravi Shankar Prasad 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."
"Triple talaq is taking place despite Supreme Court outlawing it. The bill should not be delayed. The government is willing to consider suggestions of the opposition," he said.
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."
Harivansh had earlier expressed his anguish over repeated adjournments of the House, saying the entire country is watching.
As 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. The Triple Talaq Bill proposes to criminalise the practice of Muslim men divorcing their wives by saying ‘talaq’ thrice. The opposition parties are against this provision according to which the man can be sentenced to three-year-imprisonment. Their argument is that a civil case should not be given a criminal slant.
With inputs from agencies