Opposition party leaders today claimed that they were cheated by the BJP government, which, they said, broke a promise not to present Triple Talaq bill and UAPA bill in the Rajya Sabha before they were examined by select committee of MPs.
Speaking to the media, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who heads the Congress Party’s Rajya Sabha contingent, said representatives of the ruling front had approached the opposition benches when the RTI amendment bill was taken up.
“At the time, they agreed to a list of six bills that were to be moved to the consideration of select committees,” Azad said.
“Triple Talaq bill was No.1 on that list..and UAPA bill was No.2. There was no question,” he said, “of these bills being passed without being examined by select committees.”
Despite this assurance, the Parliamentary Affairs minister on Monday evening “clandestinely” sent the bill to the chairman of Rajya Sabha to be presented the next day (Tuesday).
“We got to know of the bills being presented only in the morning [of Tuesday]. Therefore, none of the opposition parties had time to issue whips to their members [to be present in the house]. On the other hand, all members of the NDA had been informed and were present,” Azad said.
Despite the government not having enough numbers to pass the bills in a full house, the Triple Talaq bill was passed on Tuesday as nearly two dozen MPs were absent.
The bill passed with 99 votes in favor and 84 against.
Among the absentees were four from the Congress Party, four from the Bahujan Samaj Party, two each from Nationalist Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party and one each from CPIM and DMK.
Some of these MPs were attending other events and could not make it to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the opposition leaders said at the joint press conference today.
The core provision of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019 is that it provides for three years of imprisonment if someone does ‘instant triple talaq’. Instant triple talaq refers to the practice of cutting off the marital bond at one go.
According to Islamic law, men cannot divorce their wives instantly, but have to do it three times with a gap of a month (or a menstrual cycle) each.
Instant talaq is in vogue in some countries, where women are divorced even on SMS, while it is banned in several others, including Pakistan and Bangladesh.