Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid Opposition protests, demand for referring it to select panel
With just two days left for the conclusion of the winter session of Parliament, the fate of the Centre’s controversial Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill that seeks to make instant triple talaq a non-bailable offence punishable with a three year jail term now hangs in balance.
The Bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha last week through a voice vote was introduced in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and passing by Union minister for Law and Justice on Wednesday. However, protests by Opposition members led by the Congress party, which demanded that the Bill be referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee for further discussions, forced Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien to adjourn the House proceedings till Thursday morning.
It now remains to be seen whether, with just two sittings of Parliament’s winter session left, the Rajya Sabha will be able to discuss and pass the contentious draft legislation or whether it would, as per the demand of the Opposition, be sent for consideration of a select committee, thereby stalling its enactment for at least another three months.
That the passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, where the Centre is in a minority, will be no easy task had been clear even before the draft legislation was passed by the Lower House of Parliament. Opposition parties like the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK and DMK, which had failed to put up any resistance to the Bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha, knowing well that it would be rendered ineffective owing to the Centre’s brute majority in the Lower House, had closed in ranks to stall the draft legislation’s passage in the Rajya Sabha.
On Wednesday, a day which had already seen much uproar in both Houses of Parliament owing to the caste violence in Maharashtra in the backdrop of the anti-Dalit atrocities in Pune districts Bhima Koregaon, the Opposition struck with all its might against the Centre. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s assertion that the Opposition was raking up the issue of Dalit protests only to stall the passage of the anti-triple talaq legislation only made matters worse.
Soon after Prasad rose in the Rajya Sabha to introduce the Bill, Congress leader Anand Sharma got up to move a resolution seeking to refer the draft legislation to a select committee of Parliament. Sharma’s move – supported by SP’s Naresh Agarwal and Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien – elicited a sharp response from Leader of the House and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who along with other MPs from the Treasury Benches, slammed the Congress for “violating parliamentary norms.
Jaitley argued that the Congress had not given prior notice about its resolution for referring the Bill to a select committee and that the motion moved by Sharma should, thus, not be entertained by the Chair. The submission by the Leader of the House immediately triggered a slanging match between BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and others members and the combined Opposition brigade of Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal, Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien, SP’s Naresh Agarwal to name a few.
As it became clear that the Opposition was in no mood to relent and decibels touched a deafening high, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Kurien was forced to adjourn the proceedings till 11 am on Thursday.
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moves Women’s Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha, says census, delimitation necessary
Congress MP Rajneeth Ranjan stated that they want rights, adding that women don’t want to be pitied.
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moved the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Addressing the house, the Union Law Minister noted that census and delimitation are necessary for the quota bill. He further expressed that the historic bill would bring equality to women.
The Union Law Minister underlined that through the Constitutional Amendment Bill, a section will be inserted in Article 330, Article 332 and Article 334. Through these, 1/3rd of the seats will be reserved in Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies of the country, he continued. Arjun Ram Meghwal further hailed that this bill is a major step ahead.
Initiating a debate on the Women’s Reservation Bill, BJP President J P Nadda praised Prime MInister Narendra Modi for the quota bill. He mentioned that the bill will strengthen women’s empowerment. The BJP President further expressed confidence that the Women’s Reservation Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha unanimously without any obstacles.
On the other hand, debating on the historic bill, Congress MP Rajneeth Ranjan stated that they want rights, adding that women don’t want to be pitied. Referring to the name of bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, the Congress MP remarked that the government should not bow down to them, but provide them equal rights and equal opportunities.
As far as reports are concerned, the Rajya Sabha will allocate seven and a half hours for the bill’s discussion and it is widely expected to receive approval in the Upper House. After the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will require the approval of the majority of state assemblies. Notably, the implementation of the historic bill will occur following a delimitation exercise based on census data completion. Reportedly, this is the seventh attempt to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Women Reservation Bill: Here’s a look at 20 states with 50% quota for women in panchayats, municipalities
At present, there are 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and municipalities across the country.
Taking a significant step ahead, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the special session of the Parliament on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the Opposition to unanimously pass the bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. The Women’s Reservation bill was stuck for almost three decades.
While the Women’s Reservation Bill that seeks to provide a 33 per cent quota for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies remained stuck, around 20 states witnessed 50% reservations for women in local government bodies. As far as reports are concerned, at present, there are 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and municipalities across the country.
States like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have made provisions for 50% reservation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in their respective State Panchayati Raj Acts.
Evidently, the move for reservation for women in local bodies dates back to 1992 and 1993, when the then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao reintroduced the Constitution Amendment Bills 72 and 73, which reserved one third (33%) of all seats and chairperson posts for women in rural and urban local bodies. The Bills were passed by both the houses. Earlier, in May 1989, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill to provide one-third reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but failed to get passed in Rajya Sabha in September 1989.
Echoing the contribution of the aforesaid leaders in Women’s Reservation, several Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi, KC Venugopal took the credit of the bill. However, though the Women’s Reservation Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha, the legislation will come into effect after the next delimitation exercise, which might be carried out after 2026. At present, only 14% of the members in the Indian Parliament are women.
Furthermore, it is to be noted that in 1988, the National Perspective Plan for Women recommended the provision of reservation for women at various political levels, from Panchayati Raj institutions to Parliament.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury holds Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs enter new Parliament building | Watch
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury emphasized the importance of the old Parliament building.
Leader of Opposition in the Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury held the Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs including Rahul Gandhi, Gaurav Gogoi entered into the new Parliament building, designated as Parliament House of India. Following the programme at Central Hall on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other MPs moved towards the new Parliament building.
Earlier, addressing at the Central Hall, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury emphasized the importance of the old Parliament building. He expressed that he feels elevated and elated for standing in the podium that has witnessed a caravan of historical episodes and events in the midst of the galaxy of luminaries who had racked up their brains and burned the midnight oil to frame the Constitution of India.
In addition, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also questioned the timeframe that the Centre has set for the nation to turn into a developed nation. He asked why India cannot become a developed country before 2047. He also called for sustainable solutions and measures to resolve the nation’s issues.
Meanwhile, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge recalled Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech, and thanked the Prime Minister for remembering it during his opening speech on Monday. Speaking at the Central Hall, the Congress President said working together is the only way to build the country. He also remembered the contributions made by Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, BR Ambedkar, GV Malvankar, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan among others.
The parliamentary proceeding will now shift from the old building to the state-of-the-art new facility. Notably, the historic shift takes place on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. On the first day of the Parliament Special Session, all members of the Parliament gathered at the old Parliament building to recall their experiences there. PM Modi also paid tribute to every brick of the old Parliament building, mentioning that it would inspire the coming generations.