TMC, Left to insist on referring triple talaq bill to select committee

Triple talaq bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha. Reuters

Even as the historic Triple Talaq Bill faces its final test in the Rajya Sabha today, dissenting voices have begun to rear their ugly head, describing the bill as "irrational and pointless". Similarly, they should ensure smooth passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha, he added.

While it had pointed to lacunae in the bill, demanded some of its "draconian" measures be amended and that it be sent to a standing committee of Parliament, the Congress had supported the bill in the Lok Sabha, as had the Left parties and Trinamool Congress.

The Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, has also demanded the bill be sent to a select committee.

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 Opposition can pass the amendments as it has majority in the Upper House.

In the BAC meeting, the Congress and other opposition parties put up the proposal to send the bill to a select committee, sources privy to the discussion told IANS. Sources say that the Congress is also holding a wider consultation with other Opposition parties before finalising its stand. "Maybe tomorrow", Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters outside Parliament.

"This government wants to destroy the parliamentary practice of legislative scrutiny through either standing committees or select committees", said Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (Trinamool Congress). We have demanded that the Bill must go to the select committee so that it can be considered carefully. It is this penal provision which Opposition parties are against.

Although the bill was listed, Rajya Sabha did not take it up since Opposition members said the business advisory committee had not allocated it time. For now the Congress is keeping its cards close to its chest while maintaining that it favours the legislation though some changes could be made.

"We are having continuous talks with the Oppo-sition parties, including the Congress". 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.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "These days a number of reforms are being brought in".

"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 bill criminalises instant triple talaq among Muslims. "The Muslim women are happy, but I don't know why the Congress is sad".

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