The Triple Talaq bill that seeks to make the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a criminal offence with a provision of three-year jail term for the husband will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Monday even as the opposition parties led by the Congress have resolved to fight it tooth and nail.
The bill that was passed in Lok Sabha last Thursday will be introduced by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Both the Congress and BJP have issued whips to their members to be present in the House on Monday and other parties have also asked their MPs to be present in full strength when the bill is taken up.
Opposition parties will meet Monday morning and evolve their strategy. They are most likely to insist that the bill be sent to a select committee as they are opposed to it in its current form. Unlike the Lok Sabha, the ruling NDA is woefully short on numbers in the Rajya Sabha. The NDA has a strength of 93 as against the Congress led UPA which has 112 members and the NDA 93 and the remaining 39 members of other parties are unattached to either NDA or UPA and are likely to play an important role in the passage of the contentious legislation.
Elaborating about the bill in the Lok Sabha, Prasad said: “The bill makes the offence of instant Triple talaq compoundable, which means that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise.”
“The bill was not against any community, religion or belief”, the Law Minister added.
The fresh bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
The fresh bill will supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha.
But amid opposition by some parties in the upper house, the government had cleared some amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable. However, after it faced stiff resistance in Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September, incorporating the amendments.
An ordinance has a life of six months. But from the day a session begins, it has to be replaced by a bill which should be passed by Parliament within 42 days (six weeks), else it lapses.
—India Legal Bureau