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Thursday 2 July 2020

Triple talaq bill: Stalemate continues in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The fate of the contentious triple talaq bill continued to hang in a balance on the penultimate day of the winter session of Parliament on Thursday, with the Rajya Sabha witnessing a rancorous debate between the government and the opposition over whether to refer it to a Select Committee.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contended the resolutions moved by the opposition to send the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill to a Select Committee were not according to the rules.

The Congress suggested that the face-off could be resolved if the government agreed to make provisions for providing financial aid to Muslim women divorced through instant triple talaq, and their families, after their husbands were sent to jail.

The bill, which has divided the political class and drawn criticism from several Muslim bodies, was passed in the Lok Sabha on 28 December.

Congress member Anand Sharma and TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy wanted their resolutions for referring the bill to a Select Committee, which they had moved yesterday, to be taken up before any other listed business.

Speaking in unison, almost the entire opposition, particularly the Congress, TMC and the Samajwadi Party insisted on the bill and the related resolutions for referring it to a Select Committee to be taken up first. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), an ally of the ruling NDA, had also backed the opposition demand.

Deputy chairman PJ Kurien said he cannot take up the bill which was not listed in the business for today.

He, however, ruled that their resolutions/amendments stood accepted.

Jaitley, the Leader of the House, however, contested it, saying the two amendments were invalid as 24-hour notice was not given by the two MPs. He also said the composition of the Select Committee proposed by the opposition did not reflect the “character” of the House.

Kurien said though there was a rule for giving a notice 24 hours before moving a resolution, the chair can waive it.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested that the government should include a provision in the bill that it would take care of the financial needs of divorced Muslim women and their children.

With rival sides ceding no ground to each other, and the uproar continuing unabated, Kurien adjourned the House for the day. Friday is the last day of the winter session.


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