The Lok Sabha in January passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, while the Triple Talaq Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in December.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 (Triple Talaq Bill), will lapse if Rajya Sabha does not pass them on Wednesday, the last day of the Budget session. According to the procedures laid down regarding a Bill lapsing in the Rajya Sabha, a Bill pending in the upper house which has not been passed by Lok Sabha does not lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha but a Bill which is passed by Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha lapses on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
As the country nears an election, the current Lok Sabha has to be dissolved as per the Constitutional requirement and a new Lok Sabha will be formed after the elections. Both the Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha, passed there and transmitted to Rajya Sabha. Once a new Lok Sabha is elected, both Bills will have to clear Lok Sabha again.
While an ordinance is currently in force outlawing triple talaq — the government has the option of repromulgation if the Bill is not passed this session. The Lok Sabha in January passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, while the Triple Talaq Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in December.
The Modi government was able to clear the two bills from Lok Sabha, however, they also need to be passed by the upper house in order to be implemented. The two Bills have generated much heat inside and outside Parliament.
For the government, the bills have political significance before the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP led by PM Narendra Modi has time to time pushed the Triple Talaq Bill as a support for Muslim women and their rights. PM had inside the Parliament and in many rallies spoke about this and tried to reach out to women from the largest minority community of the country. Centre had even told the top court that there is a need to re-look at these practices on grounds of gender equality and secularism.
NDA government projected the Bill as a question of ‘Insaaniyat aur Insaaf’, the Opposition accused the government of indulging in vote bank politics and demanded that the Bill is referred to a joint select committee. The Congress has already said it would scrap the Bill if it is voted to power.
On the other hand, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has led to tensions in the North East. Assam and other states of the have been roiled by protests over the Bill. The Bill, if passed, will pave the way for Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India.
Several organisations and political parties claim that the bill threatens the identity, language and culture of indigenous people.
JD(U) has sent a delegation to Assam and said all its six MPs in Rajya Sabha would vote against the Bill. Another BJP ally, Shiv Sena, too made its opposition to the Bill clear following an appeal by AGP which walked out of the Assam government over the issue. The NPP, which heads the Meghalaya government, too has threatened to walk out of the NDA on the issue.
An indefinite curfew was imposed in Manipur capital Imphal on Tuesday and mobile internet services suspended till February 16 across the state in view of the continued protests against the Bill. Similar uproar has been seen in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
Moreover, opposition parties have alleged that BJP is trying to garner votes ahead of the polls, Modi government has asserted that interest of all northeastern states will be protected and there is no harm in amending the Law. The party has in the past also highlighted the illegal Bangladesh immigrants issue and it was one of the important factors for its win in the assembly polls. Assam sends 14 MPs to Lok Sabha and the Bill is expected to consolidate Hindu votes across the region.
The region which sends 25 legislators to the Parliament has become a central stage of regional politics.