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Opposition parties insist on Select Committee for Triple Talaq bill

03 January 2018

The govt is set to put up the bill for consideration in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

At the meeting of the business advisory committee, nearly all Opposition parties - Congress, SP, BSP, CPI, CPM, Trinamool Congress, DMK, NCP and BJD - favoured the select committee option.

This Bill gives power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children in the case of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat. The Bill may be stalled owing to Congress' objections to a few clauses like imprisonment and maintenance.

Several Muslim groups, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), allege "illegality" in provisions of the bill that criminalises instant triple talaq.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday issued a three line whip for all its Lok Sabha (LS) and Rajya Sabha (RS) members.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, cleared by the Lok Sabha, is scheduled to come up in the Upper House on Tuesday, but the Opposition is likely to prevail upon the government to send it to a select committee on the grounds that the opinion of various community bodies and NGOs have not been taken while drafting the legislation.

The Congress, which had made the demand before the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha by voice vote, had moved some amendments to the legislation but did not press for voting on those.

While it had pointed to lacunae in the bill, demanded some of its "draconian" measures be amended and that it be sent to a standing committee of Parliament, the Congress had supported the bill in the Lok Sabha, as had the Left parties and Trinamool Congress.

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The triple talaq bill seems to have reunited the opposition, which had fallen apart in the beginning of the winter session.

Meanwhile, the government urged the Congress not to press for amendments to the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

It would be tough for the government in the Upper House to pass the bill in its present form as BJP is in minority here.

The Congress has asked the government to make triple talaq a permissive offence and that punishment be decreased to a two-year maximum sentence.

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The Congress had earlier said that the bill should be referred to a select panel of parliamentarians to nuance some provisions of it that opposition leaders in the Lok Sabha had argued.

Opposition parties insist on Select Committee for Triple Talaq bill