Govt to push for triple talaq bill passage in Budget Session

The government will make a fresh push for the passage of the contentious triple talaq bill in Parliament’s Budget Session starting tomorrow but is likely to meet strong resistance from the Opposition, which had stalled it in the last session, political leaders here said.

The session will open with the customary address of the president to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Following the address by President Ram Nath Kovind, the economic survey will be tabled in the two Houses.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the current BJP-led NDA regime’s last full-fledged budget on February 1.

The first spell of the session will end on February 9. Parliament will meet again between March 5 and April 6.

The budget is likely to carry a strong political message with an emphasis on farmers and the poor and an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Besides the budget priorities, it is the government’s legislative agenda which is likely to witness strong protests from the Opposition.

It will also seek to corner the government during the debate on the ‘Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address’ over a host of issues, including unemployment, farm distress and communal clashes, opposition leaders said.

The President’s address, which projects the government’s points of view, is likely to focus on the Centre’s efforts at boosting economic and farm growth, creating employment and empowering the poor and other weaker sections of society.

Besides the triple talaq legislation, which criminalises instant talaq by Muslim men, the government is also likely to make a pitch for the passage of the OBC bill, which seeks to give a constitutional status to the OBC commission.

Both bills are politically significant for the BJP which is a strong votary of the abolition of instant triple talaq among Muslims, a practice declared void by the Supreme Court last year.

The Lok Sabha had passed the bill seeking imprisonment for Muslim men convicted of practising instant triple talaq, but a united opposition had stalled it in the Rajya Sabha, where the NDA lacks a majority.

The BJP also hopes to consolidate its support among backward classes by according constitutional status to the OBC commission, which, it believes, will give it more teeth. PTI