New Delhi: Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine-die today. Friday, being the last day of this winter session of Parliament, the fate of the contentious triple talaq bill continued to hang in a balance.
The government in Rajya Sabha was hoping to get a breakthrough in the standoff over the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which seeks to outlaw talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq and punish offenders with a jail term.
The Congress and BJP had issued whips to all their MPs in the Rajya Sabha to be present in the house today just in case the bill was taken up. Though it was listed in the Rajya Sabha’s agenda today, but, with a deadlock between the government and opposition continuing, it did not come up.
A united opposition led by the Congress stuck to its demand that the bill, cleared by the Lok Sabha last week, be sent for review to a parliamentary committee.
The Congress and other parties – including BJP ally Telugu Desam Party and the AIADMK and Biju Janata Dal called further scrutiny of the bill by a select committee of the house.
The united opposition primarily voiced concern over the provision for a jail term. They have argued that if a man who abandons his family goes to jail, he will not be able to provide financial support for them. They want the bill to include provisions for giving financial aid to Muslim women.
There are also concerns that if the law is passed, it could be misused as it gives anyone the right to complain to the police about the “triple talaq” to register a case and arrest a man.
The government is adamant it will not cede to the opposition and send the bill to a panel. It accused the Congress of double standards and insisted that the bill be debated in the Rajya Sabha so that it can “expose the Congress’ hypocrisy” for opposing it in the upper house after supporting it in the Lok Sabha, where it sailed through last week since the government has a big majority.
After attempts to convince other parties to evolve a consensus around the bill failed during the winter session, the BJP, may try and bring the bill around the budget session of parliament which will begin in less than a month.
“Our effort is to ensure a smooth passage of the bill… BJP is twisting the matter. It doesn’t believe in consultation and discussion. Congress is always in favour of the people,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said.