What is Uniform Civil Code?
- Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was a proposal made to replace personal laws of different religions of India with a common set of rules to govern the citizens.
- Article 44 of the Directive Principles in India had made it a duty of the government to implement it.
- UCC would set common laws for public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance.
When did the discussion of UCC start taking place?
Shah Bano, a 73 year old Muslim woman, sought maintenance from her husband in 1985 who divorced her by saying Talaaq 3 times. Under political and religious pressure, she was denied the maintenance money, making UCC a hot topic among political arenas.
SC to examine polygamy, Muslim law
- A bench of justices AR Dave and AK Goel had requested CJI Dattu to constitute a bench to address the issues related to gender equality in the Muslim Personal Law.
- SC had decided to examine the law to do away with provisions biased against Muslim women, often victims of triple-talaq system.
- The court said that the practice of polygamy was injurious to public morals.
Tweak personal law, don't impose UCC: BMMA
- Opposing UCC, the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said that article 25 of the constitution allowed minorities to have personal laws.
- They demanded a gender-reform in the personal law based on Quranic values of equality and justice.
- BMMA said that national integration was not possible with a common family law.
- They said that 'Hinduization' of laws and social practices should not be done.
The Court's stance
- Justice Pardiwala said that the practice of polygamy violated the provisions of the Constitution.
- Terming it as a heinously patriarchal act, he said that Maulvis and Muslim men must ensure that Quran was not getting abused to justify polygamy.
- He said the Quran had allowed polygamy to protect orphans and their mothers from society but men had started using it for selfish motives.
Muslim personal laws cannot be scrutinized: JUH
- A clerics body, Jamait Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) has said that the Supreme court cannot scrutinize the Muslim personal laws as they flow from Quran.
- According to JUH, Mohammedan laws do not fall under 'laws in force' mentioned in Article 13 of the Constitution. Therefore, its validity cannot be challenged against fundamental rights guaranteeing equality of women.
- This may revive the Personal law vs Constitution debate.
Petition for muslim women equality
- The submission that personal laws are above the Constitution was made by JUH to the SC in a petition 'Muslim Women's Quest for Equality'.
- The bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi has agreed to make JUH a party to the proceedings.
- All India Muslim Personal Law Board is also likely to become a party.
Muslim Board says SC cannot challenge personal laws
- The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Friday told SC that "personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms", as the board submitted its response in connection with the 'triple talaq' issue.
- It also said that polygamy is a social need and claimed that Article 44, envisaging UCC is only a "directive principle of State Policy", hence not enforceable.
Defending the validity of 'triple talaq'
- AIMPLB said that if the practice of triple-talaq is discontinued, a man might murder or burn his wife alive, in order to skip the time-consuming separation proceedings and expenses.
- Indictment of loose character during divorce proceedings could damage a woman's chances of re-marriage.
- It called polygamy a "blessing for women as an unlawful mistress is more harmful for social-fabric than a lawful second wife".
Government says triple talaq can be regulated
- On SC's orders and after much deliberations the government concluded in the triple talaq issue that it was a "matter of fair/unfair religious practice and therefore can be regulated, and not a matter of faith".
- The ministers took the view that while professing one's religion was a right, these laws that are unfair will be treated with secular laws.
Government's affidavit welcomed by women's right group
- Government's affidavit stating that triple talaq was "against the right to equality that is guaranteed under the constitution" was welcomed by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA).
- The BMMA has been fighting for the ban on triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.
- The trust also hailed SC's order to Haji Ali Dargah Trust for a progressive solution for women's entry into the Dargah.
RSS intervenes in triple talaq issue
- The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) 'sarkaryavah' Suresh Bhaiiyaji said, "The issue of triple talaq is an internal problem of the Muslim community. It's a challenge before society to safeguard the interests of women and society should review it closely. The judiciary should take a humane approach while deliberating the issue."
- Ironically, RSS has made several misogynistic comments about women in the past.