As the Central government is all set to move the controversial Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, commonly known as Triple Talaq or talaq-e-biddat bill in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the Opposition parties have decided to demand that the bill is referred to the select committee for further deliberations.
The Opposition held a meeting which was chaired by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad in his Parliament House chamber. Sources present in the meeting said that most of the parties present in the meeting were of the view that the bill needs to be sent to the select committee.
DMK’s Rajya Sabha member K Kanimozhi said her party had been consistent in its position against the criminalisation of triple talaq.
“We are opposing jail punishment for pronouncing talaq. Even the Islamic tenets do not allow instant triple talaq. We will vote against the bill and it is the stand of the DMK that it (bill) be referred to a select committee,” she told reporters.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made an appeal to all his MPs to obstruct the ‘harassment of Muslims.’
“All Opposition parties should fight unitedly against the anti-Muslim attitude of BJP. The government forcibly imposing triple talaq bill is a danger for secularism and national integrity,” he said.
The Opposition is against the Triple Talaq bill’s provision for a three-year-jail term for the husband.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 27 amid fierce resistance from the Opposition.
The bill makes instant triple talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.
The Congress has said it won’t allow the bill to be passed in its current form while the Opposition maintains that the bill targets the Muslim community and wants it to be reviewed and scrutinised further by a joint parliamentary committee.
On the other hand, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has moved a motion for reference of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha.
The Opposition’s argument is that a criminal angle cannot be introduced in a civil matter, especially when there is no punishment for desertion in any other religion.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 has been listed as the number one item under the head legislative business in the Upper House where the opposition has greater numbers, given the fact that BJP’s friendly party, AIADMK, has also opposed the legislation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a meeting with top party leaders in the Parliament House which was attended by BJP President Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
(With agency inputs)