Instant talaq versus Lokpal: The ball is in Centre’s court

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has cited urgency, the brief nature of the bill and its far-reaching impact to push through the bill banning ‘instant talaq’ and not be amenable to the Opposition’s plea in Parliament to send the bill to a select committee. However, when it comes to a key anti-corruption legislation, the government has chosen to wait.
As the winter session ends this week without any sight of the government tabling an amendment bill to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, the anti-corruption legislation will complete four years of being inoperative despite having come into force on January 16, 2014. On December 27, the government in a cryptic reply to a question by Congress member from Kerala, Anto Antony, gave no commitment on when it will bring the bill, saying it was still “considering” the recommendations made by an interministerial committee of seven ministers on the Lokpal amendment bill. The government had given the same reply to Parliament on August 2 last year, saying the committee had submitted its report recently, without specifying the date. One of the ministers in the committee ..
While a group of ministers decided upon the draft of the triple talaq legislation in just about a month, the group of ministers in the case of Lokpal dwelled over a report of a parliamentary committee for almost a year before giving its report. This in effect means that the Centre has been discussing the standing committee report for more than two years now — first before the group of ministers and now at its top levels. The committee gave its report on the Lokpal amendment bill of NDA in December 2015, after dwelling on it for a year as well. While the government and the Opposition are locking horns over whether the talaq bill should be sent to a select panel, the Lokpal law has been through two standing committees but still awaits operationalisation.




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