- Centre cleared changes to triple talaq bill to pass Rajya Sabha test
- But no agreement reached on bill, says Venkaiah Naidu
- It may be taken up in winter session, enacted through ordinance: Sources
The draft law making triple talaq, or instant divorce, a criminal offence is likely to be taken up in the next session of parliament as parties in the Rajya Sabha failed to reach an agreement over it, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said today. The centre could also bring in an ordinance, or emergency executive order, to enact the law, sources told NDTV.
"Triple Talaq Bill will not be taken up today because no consensus could be built around it," Mr Naidu, the Rajya Sabha chairman, said.
The move comes just a day after the cabinet signed off on changes to the triple talaq law, officially called Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, to dilute two contentious provisions in hopes that it could pass through the opposition-dominated upper house.
The first change allows only a woman, or a close relative, to file a police case against her husband for instant triple talaq, the Islamic practice that allows men to divorce their wives immediately by uttering the word "talaq" (divorce) thrice.
The second amendment allows her to drop the case if the husband comes around later and they arrive at a compromise.
A third amendment mandates that the magistrate can decide on releasing the husband on bail only after hearing the wife.
But the government hasn't toned down the three year jail penalty for the husband or the provision that only empowers a magistrate, and not a local police officer, to release the accused on bail.
The original bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha last year but has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP-led national coalition NDA is in minority.
The government had hoped that the tweaks cleared by the cabinet would persuade some non-NDA parties, which had genuine concerns about the misuse of the law, to support the bill in its new form.
The government's effort to push the bill in the Rajya Sabha, irrespective of the outcome, was also seen as an attempt to corner the Congress.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad appeared to lay the foundation for the barbs that will follow when he, after outlining the proposed changes at Thursday's cabinet briefing, turned his attention to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
"I want to ask Sonia Gandhi, will you stand up for women's honour and pride? Congress should make their stand clear," Mr Prasad said.
When last month, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "walk the talk" on the women's quota bill, Mr Prasad wrote back urging the Congress to support the "triple talaq" bill.