Lack of numbers in the Rajya Sabha once again proved to be the biggest hurdle in pushing forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's legislative agenda.
With the Rajya Sabha adjourned for indefinite period, the fate of two important bills to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees of neighbouring countries in India and to criminalise the practice of instant oral divorce prevalent among Indian Muslims hangs in balance. Both of these bills have been passed by the Lok Sabha and are pending in the Rajya Sahba and according to rules such bills will lapse when the terms of present Lok Sabha expires on June 3.
This budget session was one last opportunity for the Modi government to push through its important legislative agenda before national elections due in April-May this year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi have actively sought support of opposition parties and public at large for passage of these two bills.
Two crucial bills that Modi government failed to pass
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 promises citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India even if they do not possess documents.
The Citizenship Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in winter session but Modi government’s floor managers could not muster the numbers in the Rajya Sabha in the last two sessions.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) bill or the Triple Talaq Bill as it is popularly known makes the practice of instant and oral divorce practiced by a section of Muslims in the country a penal offence. The bill is being opposed by several opposition parties including NDA ally JD-U on the ground that it makes divorce a criminal offence rather than a civil offence as is the case with divorce in other communities.
As per the rules, those bills that have been introduced in the Lok Sabha and passed by it but are pending in the Rajya Sabha will lapse with the expiry of the term of the Lok Sabha.
Modi government has twice promulgated the ordinance to ban instant oral divorce prevalent among Muslims by using the limited legislative powers vested in the President.
Ordinances, that are promulgated when Parliament is not in session, too will expire within six weeks from the date of first sitting of Parliament session if they fail to receive Parliament’s approval.