No Triple Talaq Bill in first leg of Budget Session

The controversial Triple Talaq Bill is unlikely to come up before Rajya Sabha during the first leg of Budget session due to “paucity of time” for government business in the Upper House.

Opposition leaders feel that there is no window for any discussion on the contentious Bill as the four working days — from Monday to Thursday — next week would witness debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address and a general discussion on Budget.

The last day of the session on February 9 being Friday, the House is likely to adjourn in the morning session. Also, usually Fridays are dedicated to Private Member’s business. The House will reconvene on March 5.

Though government has insisted on starting the debate on President’s address on Friday itself after Private Member’s Bill, the opposition has opposed it and it is likely to be taken up on Monday only. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reply to the debate in the Upper House on Tuesday. The general discussion on budget is likely to start on Wednesday and continue till Thursday.

Describing the Triple Talaq bill as historic, Modi has appealed to all parties to help the government pass the legislation. Lok Sabha has passed the bill in the Winter Session but it got stuck in Rajya Sabha where opposition parties insist on sending it to a Select Committee to “correct” anomalies in the proposed law.

Opposition leaders said the government may try to sneak in Bills, including the one on criminalising triple talaq, but they would oppose any such move as such legislations should not be passed in a hurry. “There is no time for triple talaq bill. There is the debate on Motion of Thanks. Then there is general discussion on budget,” a senior Opposition leader said.

Sources said opposition leaders made it clear at a meeting of Rajya Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) last Monday that they felt the government approach towards the session was faulted. However, they have agreed to sit for extra hours, if needed, to clear the President’s speech and debate on budget.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 1, 2018)

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