Triple talaq bill pushed to budget session, ordinance unlikely

Updated : Jan 05, 2017, 19:24 IST

New Delhi, Jan 5 : With the Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on Friday, the controversial triple talaq bill was pushed to the budget session that begins on January 29.

Government sources ruled out any possibility of an ordinance on the bill, stuck in the Rajya Sabha.

The bill, already cleared by the Lok Sabha, could not be passed in the upper house due to a deadlock over opposition’s demand seeking its reference to a Select Committee for close scrutiny.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said he hoped that the Congress and other opposition parties would agree on passing the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights in Marriage) Bill, 2017. The legislation proposes to criminalise instant triple talaq and suggests up to three years in jail as punishment for a Muslim husband who divorces his wife by uttering “talaq” thrice.

Asked about a possibility of bringing in an ordinance till the bill cleared, Ananth Kumar parried a direct reply and said: “The dates for the budget session have already been announced.

“We hope the Congress will understand the public opinion on the issue, reconsider their stand and pass it in the budget session. There is anger among people on this issue.”

The minister slammed the Congress for stalling the bill. He said they were against the empowerment of Muslim women in India.

He said the government was committed to passing the legislation, also opposed by various Muslim groups.

“The intention of the (Narendra) Modi government is clear. We want equality and respect for the Muslim women, and the Congress is opposing it. They have just shown their double standard.

The bill seeks to make instant triple talaq a non-bailable criminal offence with imprisonment up to three years and/or fine for the husband who pronounces it. The opposition demanded reconsideration of the penal provision. They also objected to the provisions of the bill that turn a civil matter into a criminal one. But the government said it was non-negotiable.

One of the criticisms on the legislation by the opposition is that the Narendra Modi government unilaterally drafted the legislation without any consultations with the opposition or other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, various Muslim organisations including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) have been meeting leaders of different opposition political parties, asking them to not let the bill pass in its present form.