ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Beyond Personal Laws

Successive governments have sided with the minority conservative opinion, which on important occasions has reframed and reconstituted the identity of the community only as a religious minority. This top-down construction of identity has had an important connotation in reference to the identity structure of Indian Muslims, as religious identity continued to occupy a place of priority and as a result came to be asserted more often. Insofar as Muslims continue to manifest personal laws as an indispensable part of their socio-religious identity and as a part of their right to live as a religious minority, an abrupt transition from personal laws to the Uniform Civil Code, politically, remains inexpedient.

Personal Laws versus Gender Justice: Will a Uniform Civil Code Solve the Problem?

Personal Laws in India present a situation where abolishing them in the interest of gender justice also inadvertently benefits the reactionary side.

Muslim Women: Historic Demand for Change

A number of Muslim women and their organisations are part of the national debate on ending the system of triple talaq. Triggered by the public interest litigation currently being heard in the Supreme Court, this represents a major change from the past when individuals like Shah Bano went to court raising issues around marriage and divorce procedures for Muslim women. What remains unchanged is the position of the ulema and the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board.

Muslim Women's Rights in India

Although laws like the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 and other laws are supposed to grant Muslim women rights and protect them from discriminatory customary laws, the absence of codification of Muslim personal laws has resulted in many of the rights granted in religious texts getting negated or diluted. Against this reality, Muslim women's groups have been campaigning for codification of personal law.

Uniform Civil Code: A Heedless Quest?

The necessity or otherwise of a uniform civil code cannot be debated in the absence of a coherent conception of what the UCC will be and what it will do. Although it has urged the government to enact one, the Supreme Court's own judgments reveal the hollowness in its understanding of the UCC. Perhaps, uniformity itself is no answer to the myriad problems of religion-based personal laws.
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