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The controversial Bills had been passed by the Lok Sabha owing to the BJP’s brute majority in the lower house of Parliament

As the Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die, on Wednesday (February 13), the Centre’s hopes of getting its controversial and politically polarizing legislative agenda – the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill – enacted as laws before the Lok Sabha polls has come to a screeching halt.

Riding on its brute majority in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had ensured smooth passage of the Bills in the lower house of Parliament.

However, since the Rajya Sabha Legislative Procedure states that a Bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Upper House lapses on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, the Citizenship (Amendment) and Triple Talaq bills have now lapsed as the ongoing budget session is the last parliamentary session during the tenure of the current government which has to seek a fresh mandate in April-May. Once a new government is elected in May this year, the Bills will now have to be introduced afresh in both Houses of Parliament and moved for consideration and passage.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the Triple Talaq Bill had triggered vociferous criticism of the government from the Opposition and even the ruling BJP’s own allies.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has triggered wide-scale unrest in the country’s north eastern region, with even two chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Pema Khandu of Arunachal Pradesh and Biren Singh of Manipur, speaking out against it. The BJP’s hard-earned allies in the north east have all joined ranks with the Opposition in criticizing the Modi government on the Bill. The overriding sentiment against the Bill is that it was being pushed by the Modi government purely to serve its political agenda of cherry-picking Hindu immigrants from countries like Bangladesh and giving them Indian citizenship in a bid to change the population arithmetic of the north eastern states – making them Hindu majority – for electoral benefits.

The bill that seeks to criminalise triple talaq and make the practice, prevalent among Sunni Muslims of the country, an offence punishable with a three year jail term, has also got the Opposition up in arms over allegations that the legislation seeks to prosecute India’s Islamic community.

Other key Bills that have lapsed with the sine die adjournment of the Rajya Sabha are the The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and the Aadhaar and other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

— India Legal Bureau

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