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Triple talaq bill stalled in RS as govt, Oppn lock horns

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 31, 2018 23:13 IST

The Opposition Monday thwarted the government's attempt in the Rajya Sabha to ensure the passage of the triple talaq bill as no discussion could be initiated on the contentious legislation.

A united opposition led by the Congress stuck to its demand that the draft law be sent to a select committee for scrutiny, saying the Rajya Sabha is not a 'rubber stamp', even as the government pressed for a discussion on the Muslim women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, after Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled it in the House.

The government accused the Opposition of running away from discussion and playing politics over the issue which was important for ensuring rights to married Muslim women.

 

Amid a stalemate between the government and the Opposition over the issue, the House failed to transact any significant business and was adjourned for the day.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said in Parliament that the party has already made its stand clear on the triple talaq bill.

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition in the House Ghulam Nabi Azad said the bill was very crucial and requires further scrutiny and claimed 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.

Derek O Brien of the Trinamool Congress said all opposition parties have unanimously decided that this bill must be sent to the select committee.

He along with other opposition members later moved a resolution for sending the bill to the select committee, which will be taken up in the House on Wednesday as the same has been accepted by the Rajya Sabha secretary general.

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, the 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. The Rajya Sabha is not a rubber stamp," he said.

Responding to this, 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."

Deputy Chairman Harivansh said, "I want to run the House. We have agreed for a holiday tomorrow (Tuesday). The members should allow the House to function today (Monday)."

As members continued to create uproar, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the House for the day till Wednesday.

Goel later accused the opposition of running away from the debate and said they will again attempt to get the bill passed in Rajya Sabha.

Bharatiya Janata Party ally Janata Dal-United may also not support the triple talaq bill if it is put to vote, sources said. The party has five members in the Rajya Sabha and is ready for a discussion even on the Opposition's resolution.

"The government is committed for gender justice to Muslim women and will again bring the bill in the upper house. The Congress opposition to the bill has also exposed its stand, as the party had earlier supported the bill and is now opposing it," said Goel.

Earlier Biju Janata Dal's Prasanna Acharya said whatever judgement SC has given, their party agrees with that and the bill should be passed, but certain defects in the bill should be removed.

"We want that the Bill should be passed as early as possible, but after corrections," he said.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday last.

Earlier, the House was adjourned twice during the day with an adjournment in the morning following protests by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 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.

Lok Sabha

The Congress on Monday again sought to raise the issue of alleged scam in the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha, inviting a sharp reaction from the government that the Opposition should not 'run away' from a debate on the issue.

Congress members have been raising the matter since the start of the Winter Session of Parliament on December 11, demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal.

During the Zero Hour, party members trooped into the Well displaying placards and shouting slogans on the issue.

Raising the matter, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge alleged there has been a scam in the deal and asked why the government was not disclosing the price of jets.

He also demanded a JPC probe amid loud protests from BJP members.

In response, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said repeating the same lie again and again would not make it a truth.

The government is ready for discussion on the matter but why is the Congress 'running way', the minister asked.

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi was present in the House. The Opposition has also been raising the issue outside Parliament.

At 2 pm, when the House was to take up discussion on Supplementary Demands for Grants, Kharge once again demanded a JPC to probe the Rafale deal.

At this, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Kharge should begin the discussion on the issue immediately and asserted that the government was ready to give a reply.

Kharge, he said, was 'running away' from discussion.

Stressing that there should a discussion on Rafale deal, Jaitley said he would prove that the Congress party was spreading lies over the deal.

 

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