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Triple talaq bill in limbo, as Govt-Oppn spar

NEW DELHI: The fate of the contentious triple talaq bill continued to hang in the balance on the penultimate day of the winter session of Parliament on Thursday, with the Rajya Sabha witnessing a furious debate between the government and the opposition over whether to refer it to a Select Committee.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contended the resolutions moved by the opposition to send the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill to a Select Committee were not according to the rules.
The Congress suggested that the face-off could be resolved if the government agreed to make provisions for providing financial aid to Muslim women divorced through instant triple talaq, and their families, after their husbands were sent to jail.
The government outnumbered in the Rajya Sabha, decided to brazen it out and not allow the opposition a political victory by sending the landmark triple talaq bill to a parliament committee for review, sources indicated. It wants to defer the bill to the next parliament session; it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, and if there is no action on it on Friday, the last day of the winter session, then it will automatically roll over to the budget session.
It learnt from highly placed sources that the ruling BJP might talk to other parties to try and bring them around to its point of view. There were fireworks in Rajya Sabha as Trinamool Congress (TMC), MP Derek O'Brien and BJP leader Smriti Irani, engaged in a verbal duel over the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, which forced the adjournment of the House for the day.
As the government refused to recognise the motion moved by Congress MP Anand Sharma referring the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 to the Select Committee, O'Brien said the Centre was deliberately sidelining the triple talaq bill, and this exposed their disinterest in women empowerment.
This provoked a sharp reaction from Smriti Irani, who sprung to her feet and demanded that opposition parties should put an end to their disruptive ways and engage in consensus-building discussion over the triple talaq bill.
Deputy chairman P J Kurien adjourned the house amid chaos as the government and the opposition couldn't come to a consensus on the contentious bill.
Jaitley accused the Congress of sabotaging the triple talaq bill. The ruling BJP has said the Congress has "double standards" on the bill for opposing it in the Rajya Sabha after supporting it in the Lok Sabha, where it sailed through last week since the government has a significant majority.
The Congress is leading the demand for a review of the bill by MPs and is backed even by parties like the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal, which usually help the government pass bills in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in the minority.
BJP ally Telugu Desam Party too has suggested that the bill is sent to a select committee.
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