The Modi government managed to get better of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha as the house gave its assent to contentious triple talaq bill on Tuesday.
- Rajya Sabha passes the triple talaq bill with 99 t0 84 votes
- Lok Sabha had passed the bill last week as Opposition walked out
- Triple talaq bill makes instant triple talaq a crime with three years in jail
In a major political win for the Narendra Modi government, the triple talaq bill today cleared Rajya Sabha hurdle. Put to vote after a lengthy debate, the triple talaq bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with 99 to 84 votes.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill will now go to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent. Once the triple talaq bill gets assent of the President and notified by the government, it will replace the triple talaq ordinance of promulgated last in February.
The triple talaq bill has been a bone of contention between the Narendra Modi government and the Opposition since December 2017, when the government first tabled the legislation in the Lok Sabha. The bill followed a Supreme Court judgment in August that year.
The Supreme Court had declared the practice of instant triple talaq unconstitutional and a divorce pronounced by uttering talaq three times in one sitting void and illegal.
The triple talaq bill of the previous Narendra Modi government lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha upon completion of its tenure. The Rajya Sabha had not approved the bill back then.
It was the first draft legisltation that the Narendra Modi 2.0 cabinet passed after being voted back to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The triple talaq bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha and passed by the house last week. The government did not face much trouble for pushing the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha, where it enjoys comfortable majority.
The government tabled the triple talaq bill today in the Rajya Sabha, where the Modi government needed strategic floor management to get approval of the upper house of Parliament. The ruling NDA does not have a majority of its own in the Rajya Sabha.
Number equation before triple talaq vote
NDA constituent, the Janata Dal (United) opposed the triple talaq bill. This brought down the strength of the NDA from 113 to 107.
There are three current vacancies in the Rajya Sabha bringing down its total strength to 242. The JDU abstained during voting on the triple talaq bill. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti also stayed away during voting. This brought down the strenght further to 236.
At least 14 members including Arun Jaitley of the BJP, Oscar Fernandes of the Congress, and Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel of the NCP were absent in the Rajya Sabha. This bring down the effective strength of the Rajya Sabha to 216.
The government required only 109 to get the triple talaq bill passed. The Biju Janata Dal extended support to the NDA on the triple talaq bill. This pushed the NDA-plus’ strength in the Rajya Sabha to 113 MPs on the triple talaq bill.
What actually happened
In the end, both sides — the treasury as well as the Opposition — polled less than expected number of votes. For the ruling alliance, the AIADMK and abstained JDU. Among non-NDA non-UPA parties, the TRS did not take part in voting.
The AIADMK’s decision to walk out ahead of voting on the triple talaq bill came late but it went in favour of the government. The AIADMK has 11 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. This explains reduction in number of votes polled in support of the triple talaq bill.
Several members of the Congress, the NCP, the Samajwadi Party too did not participate in the voting on the triple talaq bill. This translated into lower vote count on the Opposition side, which enjoys majority in the upper house.