New Delhi: The Triple Talaq Bill has been listed for consideration and passage in Lok Sabha today. (Also read: 17th Lok Sabha’s Session Today, Focus on Triple Talaq)

The ruling BJP has issued a whip to its MPs, asking them to be present in the House. The bill, which criminalises instant divorce by Muslim men and seeks jail for the guilty, was the first draft legislation tabled by the Narendra Modi government in this first session after it took the oath of office for a second term in May.

Interestingly, the bill was passed in the 16th Lok Sabha but did not get through the Rajya Sabha as BJP and its allies did not have a majority in the Upper House and the Opposition had disrupted proceedings over the Rafale deal. So it had lapsed.

This time around, while the BJP has enough numbers on its own to see the bill through in Lok Sabha, it may be slightly tricky for the Centre to have it passed in Rajya Sabha as well. For, as a daily pointed out, the NDA, without JD(U) and with the BJD, Independents and others, is at 109 while the Opposition is right behind at 108.

It all depends on the JD(U), TRS, with six seats each, and YSRCP with two. In the 241-member Rajya Sabha, BJP has 78 members and the NDA has 115, while the Congress-led Opposition has 107 votes. Without AIADMK and JD(U), NDA will be below 100.

Meanwhile, several Opposition parties have bitterly opposed the bill even as the Government has asserted that it is a step towards gender equality and justice.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has categorically said that wrong tradition should be banned. Speaking to ANI, Naqvi had likened the practice of triple talaq as discriminatory and anti-women as child marriage and Sati, which he asserted were put an end to.

“To end wrong traditions and wrong practices, this country first ended child marriage, Sati system and others. So why should this be not done? The bill (Triple Talaq) will be passed in both Houses.” He argued that wrong is wrong, irrespective of its nature or religion. “Triple Talaq has got nothing to do with religion, it pertains to wrong traditions and wrong practices…”

The Union minister also attacked the Opposition for trying to block a woman empowering bill and said, “Congress leaders sometimes insult Armed forces, sometimes they obstruct the path to make laws for women empowerment & women security.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had said he was opposed to the provision considering a civil offence as a criminal offence. He suggested that the scope of the bill should be extended to women of all communities.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi also slammed the Government for pushing the bill. He said, “Triple Talaq bill is unconstitutional. It’s a violation of Constitution’s Article 14 & 15. We already have the Domestic Violence Act 2005, CrPC Section 125, Muslim Women Marriage Act. If Triple Talaq Bill becomes a law it will be even greater injustice against women.”