New Delhi: The proposed law to criminalise the practice of instant divorce by Muslim husbands will not see the light of the day for at least four more months as the Rajya Sabha on Friday decided to defer the consideration of the bill till the next session due to lack of consensus.
Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, has been deferred till the next session even as Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded that the bill be taken up. The Chairman said he would not proceed without a consensus.
The minister blamed the Congress for the delay.
"Sir, whatever is happening is unfair. Should the Muslim women not get justice? The Congress is delaying it in the name of select committee," Prasad said as Opposition MPs protested loudly and Naidu asked the Minister to stop.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared amendments to the bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha, with the fresh version allowing a magistrate to give bail to the men found instantly divorcing their wives.
According to the new provisions of the bill, instant divorce will continue to be illegal and void, attracting a jail term of three years for the guilty. But if the wife and the husband desire to settle their differences, then a magistrate can compound the offence on appropriate terms and conditions and grant bail after hearing the wife.
The amended bill was listed for consideration and passing in the day's list of business of the Upper House. However, the Opposition members objected to its listing on a Friday, which is reserved for the private members' bills.
In the afternoon, as the House reconvened at 2.30 p.m., Chairman Naidu said: "We are taking up private members' bills now and after that we will take up two government bills. And the bills are on which there is consensus. We are not taking up the other bill (triple talaq bill)."
A few minutes later he reiterated: "I would like to say clearly again that we are not taking up triple talaq Bill for the reason that consensus has not been reached on that."