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Published On: Fri, Oct 14th, 2016

Law panel behaving like an agent of the Narendra Modi government: AIMPLB

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card_1461824857NEW DELHI : A virtual civil war erupted within the country’s biggest religious minority group after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) decided on Thursday to boycott a stakeholder engagement questionnaire circulated by the union law commission on a common code for issues such as marriage, divorce and property rights.

While the AIMPLB accused the law panel of behaving like an agent of the Narendra Modi government and said the proposed Uniform Civil Code is a threat to the country’s pluralism and diversity, Muslim female activists said the board cannot speak for the entire community.

The Constitution allows Muslims to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code, though the community itself has been clamouring for reforms and a ban on oppressive customs.

Meanwhile, the government has reacted sharply to accusations by the top decision-making body for Muslims which included titling Prime Minister Narendra Modi “a dictator” as part of its opposition to ending the practice of triple talaq.

“The real mood in this country is that people want triple talaq to end,” said senior minister Venkaiah Naidu today about the practice which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying “talaq” three times.
The government told the Supreme Court last week that the process must end because it violates the dignity and right to equality of women. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) says Muslims must continue to be governed by their own civil laws on inheritance, marriage and divorce.
The Law Commission has asked for public feedback on the introduction of a uniform civil code.This means that all religions and communities would be governed by the same family laws. Muslims and other minorities, like Christians and Parsis, would lose their existing right to apply their own civil code.
Mr Naidu said the Muslim Law Board is obstructing democracy by declaring its boycott of the call for public feedback to a questionnaire released online about the uniform civil code.
He also said “Some people are confusing the issue of triple talaq with Uniform Civil Code. Rebutting the organisation’s criticism of PM Modi and the government for seeking to impose majoritarianism on minorities.
A petition being considered by the Supreme Court, seeks an end to triple talaq, polygamy and ‘halala‘, which mandates that if a woman wants to go back to her husband after a divorce, she must first consummate her marriage with another man.
The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India is examining the effects of triple talaq and polygamy on the fundamental rights of Muslim women and inspecting if these practices are ending up in gender discrimination. Ever since the court began the exercise, several Muslim women’s organisations have jumped on the bandwagon to attack the practices.
Women’s rights activists have long called for reform of the Muslim personal law which they say discriminates against women. What they want instead is a well-defined law that criminalises polygamy, unilateral divorce and child marriage.
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