New Delhi: The political tussle between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Congress-led opposition continued on Wednesday over the latter’s demand for referring the controversial triple talaq bill to a parliamentary committee for further deliberations.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, which criminalizes the practice of instant triple talaq, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. With Lok Sabha passing the bill last week, the government is keen on its passage in the Upper House in the current session.
Senior government leaders argue that the Congress-led opposition is not serious about passing the legislation and wants it deferred to another session.
“The practice (of triple talaq) was declared unconstitutional on 22 August. Two of the (Supreme Court) judges...held the practice to be unfair. They used their extraordinary power to suspend this practice for six months. Those six months expire on 22 February," Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said in the Upper House.
“They said we (the Supreme Court) beseech all political parties to come out with an appropriate legislation. Therefore, there is an urgency which the country expects from Parliament and the urgency is that the practice is unlawful," he added.
The Congress, among others, stuck to its demand of sending the bill to a select committee for further fine-tuning. Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, moved a resolution proposing the select committee with names of opposition members. He said such a committee could give its report by the first week of the budget session.
To this, Jaitley raised objections and said proper parliamentary procedures were not being followed and attacked the Congress. “The whole country is watching that in the other House you supported the bill and here you are trying to derail it," he said.
In his response, Sharma said: “We are not opposing, we are supporting it. We are not hypocrites. We want to ensure the bill goes through legislative scrutiny."
As both sides continued to stand their ground, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day.
The proposed legislation seeks to protect the rights of married Muslim women by prohibiting the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq" three times at one go.
PTI contributed to this story.