Triple talaq bill gets Rajya Sabha nod

The triple talaq bill, passed thrice by the Lok Sabha, was passed today by the Rajya Sabha with 99 voting in favour and 84 voting against. Though some parties opposed the law such as Nitish Kumar’s party and the AIADMK decided to abstain from voting. Their absence from voting helped bring down the effective strength of the 240-member Rajya Sabha and the majority mark.

The opposition demand to send the bill to a select committee was rejected with only 84 members voting for it, 100 against. The triple talaq bill was passed soon after. The bill, which outlaws instant triple talaq, stipulates three years jail for violations. The ban is already in force through an ordinance but has been a top priority for the NDA government. It was the first bill introduced in Parliament after the NDA government was re-elected to power.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, first brought to parliament nearly 19 months back, had been stuck due to the opposition in the Rajya Sabha where the National Democratic Alliance did not have a majority.The ban is already in force through an ordinance but has been a top priority for the NDA government. It was the first bill introduced in Parliament after the NDA government was re-elected to power and was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.

Though the NDA is still short on numbers, it was helped by the opposition’s depleted strength in parliament. Some friendly parties either back the bill or abstain from voting. Bashishtha Narain Singh of the Janata Dal United set the tone early in the debate, telling the Rajya Sabha that his party was against the law and would stay away from the discussion.

The AIADMK, which faced a backlash after its lawmaker supported the triple talaq law in the Lok Sabha, extensively spoke against the bill. A Navaneethakrishnan, the AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha floor leader, who demanded that the bill be sent to a select committee in the House, resorted to walkout from the house during voting.

Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, on the other hand, has supported the legislation. Prasanna Acharya told the house that his party had once opposed the bill but had since revised its position because the government had amended some of the provisions to address concerns that it had raised.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad initiated the discussion on the bill, stressing that the members should not look at it from the prism of politics and vote bank. “This is a question of justice for women and their empowerment… This is a matter of gender justice, dignity and equality,” the minister said tabling the bill that has been already cleared by the Lok Sabha.

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