Can Centre pass a bill in Parliament to ban triple talaq? Do they have the numbers
While the historic judgment in Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down triple talaq terming the practice of instant divorce among Muslims as "void, illegal and unconstitutional, a 3:2 split verdict, the 5-judge bench of the apex court also asked Parliament to legislate against triple talaq.
The number game
Now, the onus to pass a bill banning triple talaq lies on the Centre. A bill banning triple talaq will be easily passed in the Lok Sabha as the ruling BJP-led NDA enjoys absolute majority in the house. In the 545-member lower house, the BJP, with 280 seats, alone has more than half of the majority figure.
However, the ruling NDA may have to bank on the support of the Opposition, particularly the rival Congress, to get the law against triple talaq passed in the 245-member Rajya Sabha. As numbers stand today, though NDA has 88 members (with BJP having 57 members) it still does not enjoy majority. It falls short of 36 seats.
But the merger of the two AIADMK factions in Tamil Nadu, chances of the party becoming an NDA ally, the Centre may get additional RS numbers. AIADMK has 11 members in the Rajya Sabha. With their support, NDA's number would swell to 99, still 25 behind the majority mark.
On the other hand, the Congress has 57 members and the UPA it leads has 72 members. Here, the Congress party too hailed the Supreme Court order on triple talaq. So the NDA may expect to get Congress' support in the Rajya Sabha.
If Congress supports the bill,BJP would not need the backing of any other party to ensure the passage of the Bill on triple talaq.
Despite Congress' support, there are parties in UPA which may not support the Bill on triple talaq. They are DMK (4), RJD (3) and Indian Union Muslim League (1). Minus AIADMK, the strength of other parties is 71. Some such as Samajwadi Party (18), TMC (13) and BSP (5) may also not support the Bill on triple talaq. All these parties may vote against the Bill on triple talaq or may boycott it. In both the cases, the Bill will easily get passed in the Rajya Sabha and will become a law.
Despite these numbers, if the bill fails to get the final nod in Rajya Sabha, the other option available to the BJP is to promulgate an ordinance banning triple talaq. However, this may be seen as a rash step.
Whether or not the Bill on triple talaq is passed in Parliament, now it is advantage BJP as it will win the sympathy of the Muslim women and can improve its tally in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP can derive political mileage out of it.