Government Won't Send Triple Talaq Bill To Parliament Committee: Sources

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a heated debate in the house on Thursday evening, accused the Congress of sabotaging the triple talaq bill.

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Government Won't Send Triple Talaq Bill To Parliament Committee: Sources

Congress last week repeatedly urged the government to refer the bill to a standing committee (File photo)


New Delhi:  The government, outnumbered in the Rajya Sabha, has decided not to blink and allow the opposition a political victory by sending the landmark triple talaq bill to a parliament committee for review, sources said. It wants to defer the bill to the next parliament session; it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and if there is no action on it tomorrow, the last day of the winter session, then it will automatically roll over to the budget session.

Between the sessions, the sources said, the ruling BJP will talk to other parties to try and bring them around to its point of view that the Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Bill 2017, which seeks to make instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail as punishment for a Muslim man who divorces his wife by saying talaq thrice, must be passed expeditiously to ensure justice for Muslim women. 

The opposition, said sources, will continue to press to refer the bill to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha, but realises that it has no option but to accept the government's decision.  

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a heated debate in the house on Thursday evening, accused the Congress of sabotaging the triple talaq bill. The ruling BJP has said the Congress has "double standards" on the bill for opposing it in the Rajya Sabha after supporting it in the Lok Sabha, where it sailed through last week since the government has a big majority. 

"Nobody was against the bill in the Lok Sabha. Now why are they not supporting the bill in the Rajya Sabha," said parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar today.

A united opposition has faced off with the government, insisting that its resolution to send the bill to a select committee of the House be voted on to prove that a majority of the House backs that move. The government has challenged that on technical grounds.

The Congress is leading the demand for a review of the bill by MPs and is backed even by parties like the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal, which usually help the government pass bills in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority. 

BJP ally Telugu Desam Party too has suggested that the bill be sent to a select committee. 

The Congress had last week repeatedly urged the government to refer the bill to a standing committee for review when it came up in the Lok Sabha. It has been careful to underline that it strongly backs any move to abolish the triple talaq, but wants provisions to be strengthened to effectively safeguard the interests of women.

The Congress and other parties have opposed the provision for a three-year jail term in the bill arguing that if a man who abandons his family goes to jail, he will not be able to provide for them. 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.


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