Opposition, TDP want select panel to look at triple talaq Bill

BJP minority cell workers at the Jharkhand party office in Ranchi celebrate the passage of the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha on Friday

The government on Tuesday shot down the Opposition's demand that the triple talaq bill be sent to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha, but indicated that it might be open to accepting some of the amendments to the bill suggested by the Opposition. Some Opposition parties have objected to certain provisions of the bill and want it to be referred to the select committee concerned for a deeper evaluation. Congress, AIADMK and DMK were in favour of sending the bill to a panel before its passage. "If that's not possible, the bill should at least be sent to a standing committee so that they can remove discrepancies from the bill".

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which was listed for consideration and passage on Tuesday, could not be taken up as there was no consensus on the contents of the legislation.

The main opposition Congress, however, will hold another round of talks with like-minded parties before finalising its strategy.

At the meeting, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, also the Union Finance Minister, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar were believed to have told the opposition that they should not insist on amendments to the bill or to recommend its reference to a parliamentary committee. Consequently, despite many smaller parties seeking a standing committee scrutiny, the bill had a smooth sail in the Lower House. There was, however, no official word from the Congress about the suggestion it was claimed to have made.

Meanwhile, the government urged the Congress not to press for amendments to the bill in the Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs, they said, would move amendments to the bill, including one for putting the onus on the husband that he had not pronounced instant triple talaq.

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Interestingly, members of the Trinamool Congress, who have been ambivalent on the legislation, backed the demand for referring the Bill to a committee as it needed fine tuning.

The ruling side also attacked the Congress for having a "confused" stand on the matter.

The bill apart from outlawing triple talaq OR talaq-e-biddat also makes it a punishable offence, according to its provisions. The Congress takes one step forward and then 10 steps backward.

"The Supreme Court has already set aside triple talaq as illegal and arbitrary, and hence, there is no need for further legislation on it", said Dr Qasim Rasool Ilyas, member of AIMPLD. "The Muslim women are happy, but I don't know why the Congress is sad".

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