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The government and the opposition are all set to lock horns in Parliament on Wednesday as the Rajya Sabha meets for the first time in the new year, with the former hellbent on pushing through the Triple Talaq bill despite the numbers being heavily stashed against it and the latter led by the Congress, unrelenting in its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe on the Rafale deal.

The government had listed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 on Monday but the Rajya Sabha did not take it up amid opposition’s reservations over the proposed legislation and its insistence on sending the bill to a select committee. This had led to heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches and the House was adjourned for the day amid ruckus.

Today could be no different. Knowing fully well that the numbers don’t match up, it is nevertheless pushing the bill as it has to replace the ordinance promulgated in September last year. Both opposition and government have been accusing each other of doing politics over the issue ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

In the Lok Sabha on Monday, Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge had said that since Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had “thrown a challenge”, his party is ready for a debate on January 2. The Congress MPs kept staging protests holding placards and shouting slogans near the Chair’s podium in the lower House, demanding a JPC probe.

Meanwhile, terming Triple Talaq bill “inhuman, anti-women and barbaric”, women’s wing of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday appealed to Rajya Sabha members to press for referring it to a select committee for scrutiny. Asma Zohra, the chief organiser of the women’s wing of AIMPLB, told reporters here that if passed, the Triple Talaq legislation will damage the family and social fabric of the community. “There was no need for this bill after Supreme Court judgment invalidating triple talaq. It is brought with political and communal motives to divide the society,” she said. She claimed that Muslims across India oppose and condemn the bill brought in the Rajya Sabha for a second time.

In another related development, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has moved a motion in the House for referring the “triple talaq” bill to a select committee. The motion is likely to be taken up on Wednesday when the House takes up the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018. The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. In the motion, Azad has also proposed the names of 11 Opposition members to be part of the Select Committee of the House.

Anand Sharma of the Congress, Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party, Manoj Kumar Jha of the Rashtriya Janata Dal are among those whose names have been proposed by the Leader of Opposition. The Opposition members have also given notices for amendments in the bill.

—India Legal Bureau

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