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Triple talaq bill hits Oppon hurdle in RS

Shemin Joy, New Delhi, DH News Service, Jan 4 2018, 1:03 IST
Muslim women offer sweets to each other at a programme to celebrate the passage of the triple 'Talaq' bill by the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo

Muslim women offer sweets to each other at a programme to celebrate the passage of the triple 'Talaq' bill by the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo

The triple talaq bill hit a hurdle in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with the Opposition stalling a debate on it.

This came after the government refused to accede to the Opposition's demand for sending the bill to a select committee to correct what they claimed was "faulty".

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, at 3 pm amid high drama in a noisy House with Congress' Anand Sharma and Trinamool Congress' Sukhendu Shekhar Roy moving almost identical motions, asking the bill to be referred to a select committee.

The House was adjourned 50 minutes later as the Opposition, which has numerical superiority over the government, insisted on a division over its amendment to the motion for considering the bill.

The bill will now come up for consideration on Thursday.

Moving the bill, Prasad said the Supreme Court on August 22 "called triple talaq as unconstitutional... The judges appealed to Parliament to come out with a law."

As the Opposition created a ruckus, Prasad said that they were "deliberately stalling" the passage of the bill that is in favour of women.

The BJP asked the Congress why it was creating stumbling blocks while it supported the bill in the Lok Sabha when it was passed.

The Opposition then clarified that they were in favour of the bill but wanted it to be vetted by a select committee.

Sharma and Roy, as well as other Opposition MPs, demanded a vote on sending the bill to a select committee, leading to sloganeering from the ruling and the Opposition benches.

Besides the Congress, SP and TMC, the names proposed by Sharma and Roy for the panel included leaders from the AIADMK, BSP, DMK, NCP, CPI, CPM, TDP, RJD, BJD, JMM, IUML and nominated member K T S Tulsi.

The leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to find fault with the amendments moved by the Opposition, saying it was not in order.

Jaitley also said that Sharma's motion was "invalid", saying Rule 70 (sub-rule 2a) cited by the Congress leader was not applicable because the bill did not originate from the Upper House.

Jaitley also said that the notice for setting up a select committee was not given in advance and this was a violation of parliamentary procedure.

As the Opposition continued to protest, the ministers and BJP MPs were on their feet asking, "Is it wrong to give respect to women?"

Sharma countered them saying the Congress respects women's rights and supports the bill.

"We are not opposing, we are supporting it. We are not hypocrites. We want to ensure the bill goes through legislative scrutiny. If you respect women, you should bring the women's reservation bill," Sharma said.

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