Monday, July 04, 2005

The Dire need for Uniform Civil Code

Over the past week we have heard the Imraana story and the Dar-ul-uloom fatwa on her. There are also stories going around (planted I presume) that she was not even raped by her Father-in-law (Source: AIMPLB - All India Muslim Personal Law Board). Now my first question: Who on hell are Dar-ul-uloom to issue any fatwas? Hello is this India or not? Are Muslims in India completely out of the loop of the civilized living? This whole story smacks of the disgusting ways in which Muslims live in India. Consider the shamelessness with which Mulayam Singh Yadav supports these Islamic fanatics who should have no place in this country. This is an atrocious display of "Secular politics" when infact he is the very man (as CM of UP) responsible for protecting Imraana and other Muslim women mistreated by their so called religious leaders. Mind you the Dar-ul-uloom and other Deoband schools are the ideological mentors of the Taliban. This is ofcourse not the first time "Secular Politicians" have helped Islamic fundamentalists. Remember the Shah Bano case? Shah Bano was a Muslim women divorced by her husband. As per the Personal Law which governs the Muslims in India, her husband had no obligation to pay any alimony to her. However the Supreme court (which has been regularly advocating the need for the Uniform Civil Code) intervened and ruled that Shah Bano was to be paid alimony. Here comes our own "Secular Sultan" Rajiv Gandhi who had the Muslim women's bill passed in Parliament thereby nullifying the Supreme Court order. Today you will not believe the atrocious provisions of the Muslim and Christian Personal laws which are suffocating their women and yet the mere talk of UCC sounds Saffron! Are we going to oppose UCC simply because Muslim men can't do with one wife and need four? Should the Muslim women continue to be treated like Animals as their leaders have interpreted the Sharia? Is the Hindu way of dividing the fathers property equally between his wife and all his children (sons and daughters) too much for the Non-Hindus to accept? Should a adopted Christian child be denied the right to his father's property? Come on! Its time to bring the Uniform Civil Code and start civilized living in India.
ps: Article 44 of the Indian Constitution and several Supreme Court judgments strongly advocate the Uniform Civil Code.


Anonymous said...

Hello Balaji

In your post, you talked about the "atrocious provisions of Muslim and Christian personal law".

I would like to know what atrocious provisions are there in Christian personal law? Is there a separate Christian personal law?


Balaji said...

Mr Alexis,

By personal law I meant the various laws governing the citizens belonging to a particular religion. Christians for example come under the provisions of the Christian Marriage Act 1872, Christian Divorse Act 1869, Indian Succession Act 1925 and wherever applicable under Foreign Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act etc.

As for the "atrocious provisions" of the Christian personal laws, I believe a quote from an article in "The Week" Magazine on July 23, 2003 would satisfy you more than my comments.

Thanks for commenting by the way!


Quoted from "The Week" article titled "Governed as one" dated July 23, 2003.

"The perception that a uniform civil code will precipitate changes only in the Muslim personal law is a myth. A common code will affect Christians who, if they marry under the Christian Marriage Act, cannot get a divorce except on grounds of adultery. It will also impact the Hindus' entitlement to tax breaks under the classification of Hindu undivided family. If a common code is implemented, either people of all religions would be able to get these tax advantages, or none.

Christians have demanded changes in the law since 1958. "Every Christian should welcome a uniform code since it will benefit all, especially Christian women," said Michael Azavedu, founder-member of the Chennai-based Association of Concerned Catholics. Church leaders agree that the Christian Marriage Act of 1873, the Christian Divorce Act of 1869 and the Indian Succession Act of 1925 are outdated. Another demand from various church groups to the government has been the legislation of a Christian Adoption Act. "This is necessary because under existing laws an adopted child of Christian parents does not enjoy the same rights as an adopted child of Hindu parents," said Father Victor Menezes, director of St Xavier's Social Service Society, Ahmedabad.

Some Christian groups, on the other hand, are averse to a common code being implemented with retrospective effect, because it will mean that married women can seek a share of the property in cases of inheritance that have already been settled. Under Christian succession laws, parents give their daughters a share of the inheritance at the time of marriage and leave her out of the will. But the Mary Roy case in 1984, pertaining to succession, set a precedent in giving equal rights to men and women (for inheritance).

Another issue the church is touchy about is divorce. Marriage is treated as a religious sacrament sanctified by the church and hence divorce is a no-no. "We do not recognise divorces," said Vincent Concessao, archbishop of Delhi. "But in certain cases to avoid discrimination against the woman, some compromise has been accepted." Divorce laws under a uniform civil code would jar sharply with the dictates of the church."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation