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Triple Talaq Bill Set To Be Introduced in Parliament After Cabinet Approval Today

Though several bills are slated to rule debates and be tabled this session, a few key ones stand apart for the heat it might generate.

Debayan Roy |

Updated:December 20, 2017, 7:10 PM IST
Triple Talaq Bill Set To Be Introduced in Parliament After Cabinet Approval Today
File photo of Parliament. (Reuters)
New Delhi: As the Parliament convenes on Friday for the Winter Session, the Union Cabinet is also meeting in the afternoon and is likely to clear the bill on triple talaq. Th bill piloted by the law ministry stems from the recent Supreme Court verdict banning instant divorce. The government intends to get the statute passed in the current session of Parliament ending first week of January.

Though several bills are slated to rule debates and be tabled this session, a few key ones stand apart for the heat they might generate. News18 pieces together the top bills set to dominate this time.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017

Though this bill was not greeted warmly and led to an impasse in the last session of Parliament, the 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017, to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) will be again tabled this session in the Lok Sabha.

The bill proposes to bring the 1993 established NCBC on a par with National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).

Though this bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, it met a roadblock in the Rajya Sabha when an amendment was brought in. The amendment expanded the three-member commission to five to give representation to a woman and a person from minority community and mandated that all five members should necessarily be from Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The other amendment was in giving states a significant role in making recommendations to the list. This was done to strengthen the federal structure of our constitution.

Law Prohibiting Triple Talaq

When the five-judge bench of the Supreme in a ratio of 3:2 declared that instant triple talaq was not an essential part of the Islamic law and faith, there were still cases on the rise of women having left helpless after the pronouncement of such instant divorces.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017. This law gives a woman the right to seek maintenance from her husband, in the case of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, before a magistrate’s court. The bill makes triple talaq a penal offence which has three years' imprisonment for the guilty.

Hence, lending an ear to the urgent call of a law prohibiting the practice on the lines of the SC verdict, the Centre plans to introduce a bill outlawing this Muslim practice this winter session.


Bill To Legalise the Use of Marijuana

If this private member bill legalising the use of marijuana is passed, it would certainly be a game changer for the country, which asks us to treat drug addicts as patients and not criminals.

The bill seeks to make amendments to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985, which was brought in order to meet Conventions on Drug Policy laid out by the United Nations.

The amendments laid out in the bill seek to enable medically supervised and state-regulated supply of traditionally used natural drugs for a common user. It will separate natural drugs from the artificial and synthetic ones.

Currently, ‘soft’ intoxicants, like bhaang (cannabis), afeem and bhukki (opium), are clubbed with artificial ‘hard’ drugs such as smack, heroin, crack, and cocaine.

Dharam Vira Gandhi, Member of Parliament from Patiala, Punjab, has been pushing for the legalisation of marijuana or cannabis.

Bill Granting NRI The Power to Vote

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again appealed to the Indian diaspora to be a part of India's development. But considering that a large number of Indians stay abroad, a bill granting them the power to vote would be tabled in this winter session.

The bill would seek to amend the electoral law to allow Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote through postal or e-ballots.

The proposal was introduced when the Centre made its submissions to a SC bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The poll panel had said the move to allow NRIs to use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and e-ballot facility would require changes either in The Representation of People Act or in the rules made under the Act.

The Centre also submitted that the bill would take into account the recommendations made in a report prepared by a 12-member committee, led by the deputy election commissioner Vinod Zutshi, to explore the feasibility of alternative options for voting by overseas electors.

Bill to Grant Rights to Transgenders

The social justice and empowerment ministry will be introducing the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2016 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment – chaired by BJP MP Ramesh Bais and 17 other Lok Sabha members – for examination on September 8, 2016.

However, the ministry has been facing criticism for not having taken into account the recommendations made by the committee which had suggested the definition of the term itself as "against global norms and violates the right to self-determined gender identity”.

transgender bill

Apart from seeking justice for them, the bill also aims to provide transgenders with medical benefits as well as provide quotas in government colleges and jobs.

Indian Forest Amendment Act

President Ramnath Kovind recently gave a nod to the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, amending the Indian Forest Act. Now, a bill replacing it will be tabled in this winter session.

The ordinance has with immediate effect exempted bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the requirement of felling/transit permit. The move is likely encourage bamboo plantation by farmers and help enhance their income and is done with a "Look East focus."

Prior to this amendment, bamboo was treated as tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and therefore, attracted the requirement of transit permit under the law even if it was grown on private land. Since getting such permit is quite a complicated process, it was identified as a major impediment for the cultivation of bamboo by farmers on non-forest land.

The bill which is likely to be proposed has also the objective of benefiting the tribals as they and other forest dwellers. They have have long asked for full rights to harvest and sell the fast-growing grass species that was denied to them by the colonial forest law.


Education for Children

The RTE (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, introduced recently, revisits the No Detention Policy.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, proposes a ‘regular examination’ which will be held in class 5 and class 8 at the end of every academic year.

If the student fails in the re-examination, the central or state governments may choose: (i) to not detain the child at all, or (ii) to detain the child in class 5, class 8, or in both classes. This is in contrast to the current Policy where a child cannot be detained until the completion of class 8.

The bill has been passed by Lok Sabha.

Citizenship for ‘Minorities’

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 proposes that illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from specified religious groups will be eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016. The Citizenship Act of 1955 denies citizenship rights to any illegal immigrant, whereby an ‘illegal immigrant’ is defined as a person who (i) enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents, or (ii) who stays in the country beyond the visa permit.

citizenship bill

The proposed bill amends this definition to exclude “minority-religious individuals” – especially Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from “Muslim-dominated countries” such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from the ambit of being an “illegal immigrant”.

The Bill further reduces the requirement of 11 years to acquire “citizenship by naturalisation” to only six years of ordinary residence for such immigrants.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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