NEW DELHI: A united Opposition blocked the amended triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, as it refused to yield on its demand to send it to the Select Committee of the House for vetting.
While the BJP attacked the Opposition for creating roadblocks against such important legislation seeking gender justice for Muslim women, the Congress shot back, saying ramming it through without legislative scrutiny, as was done in the Lok Sabha, will not be allowed.
Amid din, Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) bill, 2018, better known as the triple talaq Bill. However, the House failed to initiate discussions.
Prasad argued that even after promulgation of an Ordinance, there were multiple instances of instant triple talaq, one of which was reported just a day ago. Alleging the Congress was politicising a very important legislative initiative, Prasad sought to pin it down saying it had already taken part in discussions on the bill in the Lok Sabha, which passed it on Thursday.
The leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, insisted it required legislative scrutiny, pointing out that more than half of the members in the House wanted it referred to the Select Committee. In the ensuing ruckus, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes.
NDA ally Janata Dal (United), too, leaned on the side of the Opposition. On an average, the Select Committee takes about three months to submit its report, so the chances of a vetted bill going back to Parliament for passing before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections are zilch.
Union Minister Vijay Goel and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Anand Sharma were locked in a war of words. While Goel charged the Congress with politicising the bill, Sharma hit back, saying it was the BJP that was giving political colour even while Opposition parties only sought a larger legislative scrutiny.
Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh adjourned the House to meet again on Wednesday.
Nitish’s party too not on the NDA page
Even NDA ally JD(U) is in favour of sending it to the Select Committee. It may not support the bill if it is put to vote in its present form. The Nitish Kumar led-JD(U) has five members in the Rajya Sabha. Trinamool leader Derek O Brien along with other opposition members later moved a resolution for sending the bill to the House panel. It will be taken up in the House on Wednesday as the resolution has been accepted by the Rajya Sabha secretary general.