Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday tabled the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 that seeks to criminalise instant divorce by uttering talaq thrice.
The Congress and other opposition parties demanded that it be referred to a parliamentary panel for detailed consideration.
Congress leader Anand Sharma moved a notice stating that the legislation be referred to a select committee.
The Minister objected saying the Congress was stalling the bill and not understanding the urgency to enact the law that criminalises the practice of instant triple talaq and imposes a jail term of up to three years on the guilty husband. The bill has been cleared by the Lok Sabha.
Prasad saidthat “the practice continues” even after the triple talaq bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and cited an alleged case of a woman in Moradabad who was divorced instantly over dowry, reported IANS.
Sharma argued the bill had shortcomings and needed to be referred to a panel to clear them.
“The rule is very clear. If the member in charge moves the bill, it will be taken into consideration. I move the following motion that this House being strongly committed to women’s rights wants to refer the bill to (a) Select Committee,” Sharma, also a member of the Business Advisory Committee, was quoted by IANS.
When the government did not yield, the opposition demanded division of votes in the House.
“Sir, in a democracy majority opinion prevails. Let’s have a division of votes on the issue,” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Chair amid ruckus by the treasury benches.
Bharatiya Janata Party members who were already on their feet started shouting and came into the aisles.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, expressing his inability to proceed with the division of votes amidst the din, adjourned the House for the day.
The BJP and its allies are in a minority in the Rajya Sabha and the result of a division of votes is a foregone conclusion.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also the Leader of the House, mounted a strong defence of the government saying the bill had already been circulated two to three days in advance.
“Notice for consideration of an amendment has to be given at least one day ahead. This motion was not given one day before,” Jaitley said.