After a smooth passage in the Lok Sabha, the Narendra Modi led NDA government at the Centre would face test of the ‘Triple Talaq’ Bill as it is set to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The litmus test would be of the Opposition unity which voted in the Bill’s favour in the Lok Sabha with some caveats.
It was passed after the House rejected a string of amendments moved by various Opposition members. The Centre termed the voting as “historic” and expressed confidence that it would be passed in Rajya Sabha well. The contentious bill had gathered mixed response from all parties when it was introduced in the lower house.
The Opposition looks fragmented in its reservations over some certain provisions in the ‘The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017’. The Bill seeks to criminalise the practice of ‘triple talaq’ by Muslim men, making it a criminal offence with punishment of up to three years of imprisonment.
The Congress has suggested that there were certain lacunae in the Bill that needed to be rectified before being brought into force.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi opposed the Bill saying that it would violate the fundamental rights of Muslims. All the amendments moved by Owaisi, Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) Bhartruhari Mahtab, the Congress’ Sushmita Dev and the Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) A Sampath were negated in the Lok Sabha last Thursday.
The introduction of the contentious Bill may get delayed by a day or two in the Rajya Sabha as the ruling combine tries to build consensus among the political parties. Apart from the Congress, the Left parties and two big regional parties from Tamil Nadu- AIADMK and DMK have been in favour of sending the Bill to a Parliamentary panel to nuance some provisions of the Bill.
There is some discomfort at the provision for a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who utters the word “talaq” thrice to divorce his wife. There are also concerns that if the law is passed, it would give anyone the right to complain to the police about the “triple talaq” to register a case and arrest the man.
But this time, if the bill is sent to a parliamentary committee for review, it is unlikely to be passed in the winter session that ends later this week. Both houses must clear the bill for it to become law.
If the Congress and the other opposition parties stand their ground, the government figures it may not have much of a choice.