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Heated exchanges between Govt, Oppn as Triple Talaq tabled in RS

Heated exchanges between Govt, Oppn as Triple Talaq tabled in RS

New Delhi, Jan 3 (UNI) After a smooth passage in the Lok Sabha, the Triple Talaq Bill was on Wednesday tabled in the Rajya Sabha amid a ruckus by the Opposition, which unitedly demanded that the Bill be referred to the Select committee of the Upper House.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill, 2017 was introduced in the House by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

However, even as the Law Minister introduced the Bill, the Opposition raised an uproar in the House, demanding that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

Stressing the urgency of passing the Bill, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said, 'even after passage of triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha the practice is continuing, a woman in Moradabad was given instant talaq over dowry.'

However, agitatted member of the Opposition did not allow the Law Minister to speak on the Bill, pressing their demand for referring the Bill to the select committee.

Infact, in the midst of the din in the house, Deputy leader of the Congress Anand Sharma moved a notice demanding the triple talaq bill be referred to a select committee for further consideration.

'The House respects the dignity of women but the Bill needs further consideration,’’ he said and also suggested for the committee names of Renuka Chowdhury and Vivek Tankha of the Congress, Derek O' Brien of the All Indian Trinamool Congress, Majid Menon of the NCP, D Raja of the CPI, Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP, Sanjeev Kumar of the JMM, Prasanna Acharya of the Biju Janata Dal, Tiruchi Shiva of the DMK, A Navaneethakrishnan of the AIADMK, Misa Bharti of the RJD, Abdul Wahab of the IUML and KTS Tulsi (Nominated).

He said ruling BJP should suggest the name of its members to the committee.

Mr Sukendu Sekhar Roy of the AITC also moved a motion for referring the Bill to the select committee.

Heated arguments ensued between members of the ruling party and opposition over the issue.

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, opposing the Motion to refer the bill to the select committee, said the

motion was invalid as such a motion needs to be given 24 hours prior to the bill being taken up.

'The rules say that the motion applies only if a Bill originated from this Council of states. However, this Bill has been referred from the other House. So the motions cannot be taken up,' he said.

'Further, the motion has to be given at least 24 hours in advance. What is the kind of parliamentary practice your are picking up?" he said.

Stressing the urgency of the bill, he said,'this practice of instant divorce has been declared unconstitutional. The court has urged Parliament to bring a legislation in this regard within six months. The Supreme Court Bench declared instant divorce unconstitutional for six months. The deadline ends in February 22, 2018. We brought the Bill to make it permanent.'

Charging the Opposition with trying to delay the bill, he said,'the whole country is watching that in the other house you supported the bill and in this house you are trying to derail the bill. '

Arguing against referring the Bill to a select committee, he said,'the reason why it should not be referred to a select committee is that when the practice was declared unconstitutional, 2 of the judges held it as unfair and used their extraordinary power to suspend it for 6 months, which expire on February 22. Judges said, 'We are now suspending it for 6 months and we beseech all parties, therefore within this period come out with apt legislation.' So, there is an urgency that country expects from Parliament. Legislature must act with sense of responsibility.'

Raising a point of order, Mr O 'Brein of the AITC said, 'We want the Bill, but it is faulty. It requires further consultations.'

Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal charged Mr Jaitley of quoting from the minority judgment penned by former CJI J S Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazeer. Triple talaq was declared unconstitutional by 3:2 majority.

"He referred to judgement of SC, I want to correct the record because I appeared in the case on behalf of Muslim Personal Law Board. What he said was in context of the minority judgement," Sibal said.

Agitated over the Opposition demand for referring the Bill to a Select committee, Mr Ravi Shakar Prasad accused the Congress of hypocrisy and double-standard.

Responding to the charge, Anand Sharma said,'the Law minister is being unlawful, he is the one disrupting the House now."

As the heated exchanges continued between the Opposition and the ruling party benches on whether or not the Bill be referred to a Select committee, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested that the House vote on the motion.

'We should take the division on the Motion to refer it to the select committee,' he said.

The suggestions was followed by a huge uproar from the treasury benches.

To this, Mr Azad said, 'if the majority's view is not heard in this House, where will it be heard?"

The Deputy Chairman said though both amendments moved by the opposition to refer the bill to the select committee were valid, he could not calla for a decision till there was an order in the house.

With the bedlam continuing, Prof Kurien adjourned the House for the day.

The House had earlier witnessed three adjournments in the Dalit violence in Maharashtra.

The Triple Talaq Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The contentious triple talaq bill, if enacted, will make triple talaq a criminal offense. It proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife in any form of spoken, written or by electronic means such as email, SMS, and WhatsApp.

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