Opposition in RS wants select committee to oversee triple talaq bill

New Delhi (IANS) Ahead of the Central government's move to move the triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha, the Opposition parties on Monday held a meeting and decided to demand that the bill is referred to the select committee for further deliberations.

The meeting, chaired by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad in his parliament house chamber, was attended among others by leaders of 12 opposition parties including Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, TMC's Derek O'Brien, CPI's D. Raja, and Kerala Congress' Jose K. Mani. 

Sources present in the meeting said that most of the parties present in the meeting were of the view that the bill needs to be sent to the select committee.

DMK leader and Rajya Sabha member, K. Kanimozhi said her party had been consistent in its position against "criminalization" of triple talaq. 

"We are opposing jail punishment for pronouncing talaq. Even the Islamic tenets do not allow instant triple talaq. We will vote against the bill and it is the stand of the DMK that it (bill) be referred to a select committee," she told reporters. 

TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made an appeal to all his MPs to obstruct the harassment of Muslims.

"All Opposition parties should fight unitedly against the anti-Muslim attitude of BJP. The government forcibly imposing triple talaq bill is a danger for secularism and national integrity," he said.

Keen on enacting the legislation, the government has got the bill on criminalizing triple talaq listed in the Rajya Sabha for consideration on Monday, giving it the top priority notwithstanding the fact that it may find it difficult to get the bill through.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 has been listed as the number one item under the head legislative business in the Upper House where the opposition has greater numbers, given the fact that BJP's friendly party, AIADMK, has also opposed the legislation.

The Lok Sabha has passed the bill although Congress and other opposition parties and AIADMK walked out of the House before the bill was put to vote as the government had rejected the demand for referring it to a joint select committee.

Besides Congress, the AIADMK, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have also opposed the bill in the lower house. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a meeting with top party leaders in the parliament house which was attended by BJP President Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have issued whips to their Rajya Sabha members.

In the absence of a majority in the Upper House, the BJP is likely to face difficulties in getting the bill passed.

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