Triple talaq bill likely to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday

Congress wants punishment to decreased by two-year maximum bailable offence triple talaq

Two of the bigger Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress and Trinamool Congress, as also the Left parties, do not want to be seen to be stalling the bill and expose themselves to accusations of "Muslim appeasement".

Although the bill was listed, Rajya Sabha did not take it up since Opposition members said the business advisory committee had not allocated it time.

Most parties are against the provision for jailing offenders - they say they don't want a civil matter to be criminalised.

The government wants the bill to be discussed in the Upper House tomorrow, so that parties opposing it are exposed.

The opposition parties are said to be planning for either amendment against criminalising triple talaq or referring the Bill to a select committee for detailed consideration.

The bill criminalises instant triple talaq among Muslims.

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.

Given its numbers in the Rajya Sabha, a united Opposition can vote to send the bill to a select committee.

The SC said triple talaq violates the fundamental rights of Muslim women as it irrevocably ends a marriage without any chance of reconciliation.

MPs noted that the government has conceded in Lok Sabha that the bill was conceived without consultations with Muslim groups and argued it was imperative that this gap be now filled because parliamentary committees, as a matter of procedure, take the views of a cross-section of people. It makes triple talaq punishable by three years in jail for the husband.

On Tuesday, before the bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and others have noted their reservations over the bill and wanted it to be referred to a select panel of parliamentarians.

He also said the Congress did not press for amendment in the Lok Sabha and should similarly ensure smooth passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

The triple talaq bill seems to have reunited the opposition, which had fallen apart in the beginning of the winter session. "If we put our heads together in good faith, I am certain we can find a way to stop the practice of instant triple talaq, protect women's rights and mitigate risks of abuse from this piece of legislation".

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