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Government may agree to send triple talaq bill to parliament committee: Reports

Various media reports suggest that the government, being outnumbered in Rajya Sabha has agreed to send the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 – or the triple talaq bill – to a parliament committee for review.

News reports say that the panel will have to be constituted hence the bill can now be passed only in the next session after the panel scrutinises the bill and suggests changes, if any.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha last Thursday. It was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday but did not go through after a united opposition insisted that it be sent to a select committee.

The opposition and a number of BJP allies and parties friendly like the AIADMK, Biju Janata Dal, and Telugu Desam Party, have for some time now been asking that the bill be sent to a parliament committee.

A pandemonium broke out in the Upper House soon after the bill was tabled by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Congress leader Anand Sharma moved the notice to refer the bill to a select committee of Rajya Sabha. He even proposed the names of committee members following which the Upper House witnessed a stormy session.

The parties say sending the bill to a select committee will help better understand any lacunae in it. The main point of contention over the bill is the jail term included in it.

The opposition says the bill turns a civil issue into a criminal one by recommending a jail term extending up to three years for people who continue to use the practice.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 seeks to criminalise instant divorce, triple talaq.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with most of the leading parties in the Opposition, including the Congress party, voting in favour, but with caveats.

The bill, if enacted, will make triple talaq a criminal offence. It proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife in any form of spoken, written or by electronic means such as email, SMS, and WhatsApp.The bill can now only be passed in the next session of parliament, since the winter session of Parliament ends on Friday.

(With agencies input)