The Muslim Personal Law Board issued a stern warning to Prime Minister Modi asking the government to prepare for 'internal war.' The Board issued the warning after reacting to the Law Commission announcement to gauge public opinion on whether to introduce uniform civil code in an ongoing bid to end the practice of triple talaq.
The Law Commission announced earlier on Thursday that it will send out a list of 16 questions to gauge public opinion through responses from the general public and stake-holders that must be received within 45-day time limit. It will then determine in should the proceedings head. The Commission also asked whether to ban or regulate polygamy.
"Family law reforms has to view women's rights as an end in itself rather than a matter of constitutional provisions, religious rights and political debate alone. The aim is to introduce family law reforms in the most integrative manner without compromising the diversity and plurality that constitutes the core of India's social fabric," Justice Chauhan was quoted as saying to Times Of India
The issue of abolishing 'Triple Talaq' has invited the ire of the Muslim Personal Law Board. The practice of triple talaq which is a part of Sharia law permits a husband to pronounce talaq three times to instantly divorce his wife. The Commission asked whether it should be abolished altogether, retained only in customs without legal sanctity, or retained with suitable amendments. The commission was formed after repeated appeals and intervention from civil society.
"The Uniform Civil Code is not good for this nation. There are so many cultures in this nation which have to be respected. Muslims have equally participated in India's freedom struggle, but their participation is always underestimated. We are living in this country with an agreement held by the constitution, which allowed us to practice our religion" Hazrat Maulana Wali Rehman of the Muslim Personal Law Board (MPLB) was quoted as saying to reporters in New Delhi.
"In America, everyone follows their personal laws and identity. How come our nation doesn't want to follow their steps in this matter?," asked Rehman while also pointing out that there are separate provisions for tribals in India
He alleged that the commission is not independent but working as a government body and claimed that the questionnaire is fraudulent as it is biased in favour of a Uniform Civil Code. "We will boycott the law commission, the law commission is biased," he added.
The MPLB also hit out at Prime Minister Narendera Modi saying that this is an attempt by him to try and hide the failures of his government. The MPLB also asserted that all Muslims are united on the matter and that any attempt at forcing the introduction of a uniform civil code can hamper internal peace.
The Commission however is not exclusively reforming Muslim marriage laws, as it also aims at addressing discriminatory laws affecting Hindu women through customs similar to polygamy such as Maitri-Karar which despite being banned by law, is still practised sporadically in Gujarat.
Apart from polygamy, the questionnaire also asks public about the steps needed to "ensure that Hindu women are better able to exercise their right to property, which is often bequeathed to sons under customary practises." It also asked the public if it thinks the Christian women's right to equality is affected due the two year period for formalisation of divorce in cases of separation by mutual consent of spouses that is a year longer when compared for Hindu women.