Equality before uniformity :

Two intertwined topics : Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and Muslim women’s rights appeared in news.

TAKEAWAYS :

Comparing Hindu and Muslim women:

  1. three impediments to legislating a UCC : “separatism, conservatism, and misconceived notions about personal laws” LAWMINISTRY NOTED.

  2. Shayara Bano’s demand for the repeal of unilateral divorce (or triple talaq)

  3. personal law : Hindu law HL successfully codified + reformed V. Muslim law ML remains uncodified

  4. Historically, Muslim personal law was way ahead of its Hindu . WHY? As per ML : Marriage is contract V. HL it is sacrament.

  5. Towards Equality’ report of 1974 on the status of Indian women = which showed that the incidence of polygamy (usually bigamy) was in fact greater among Hindus than Muslims = no rights for Hindu woman.

  • Stop making dubious comparisons between Muslim and Hindu women

  • 6. The steady slide of Muslim women ?

  • increasingly marginalisation in social, economic and political terms of muslim women.

  • if a common code is impossible to argue for today, it is not because Muslim women are better off with their existing personal laws, but because of the extreme insecurity and precariousness of Muslim lives and livelihoods in contemporary India

  • genuine equality could be brought into the realm of family life and related institutions by reenergised feminists.

Example : Innovative use of secular laws by minority groups, such as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007 for adoption of children by Muslims and Christians.

7. the common goal is gender justice, whether it is uniform or plural laws.

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