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News Snippets

  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
  • Tipu Jayanti passes off peacefully in Karnataka
  • 10 dead as Cyclone Bulbul leaves destruction in its wake in West Bengal
  • Shefali Verma breaks Sachin's 30-year old record by scoring an international fifty at 15 years and 285 days
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner T N Seshan dies at 87
  • India beat Bangladesh by 30 runs to win the 3rd T20 and clinch the series 2-1. Deepak Chahar becomes the first Indian to take a hat-trick in T20s and returns the best bowling figures of 6/7
  • Centre removes SPG cover of the Gandhis. However, they will still get Z-category security
  • CJI Ranjan Gogoi will have a meeting with UP chief secretary and DGP of the state in his chamber ahead of the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute next week
India Commentary wishes all its readers a very Happy Guruparab
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Muslim Personal Law & Indian Constitution

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Till now, in matters of personal law, Muslim religious leaders in India either accepted Supreme Court rulings or petitioned the government of the day to enact a law to step around them, as it happened in the Shah Bano case, which led to the promulgation of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

But now, they are questioning the right of the Supreme Court in giving rulings on matters arising out of Muslim personal law, as they claim that the same derive from the Holy Quran and no one has the authority to question them. Jamait-Ulama-E-Hind, a powerful body of clerics, said this much in their submission before the Supreme Court when it took up the petition entitled “Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality.” This stance is a direct attack on the country’s laws and its judiciary.

The courts have been clear in their stance that whenever personal law will be in conflict with the Constitution, it will be the latter that will assume preference. This is as it should be in a secular, democratic country. The Supreme Court had, in the case Khursheed Ahmad Khan versus State of UP, held that a practice cannot acquire religious sanction just because it is permitted and it can be regulated or prohibited in the interest of public order, morality and health.

Further, the problem is that there are several interpretations of Quranic verses and in the absence of a codification of Muslim personal law, they are taken to mean different things in the same situation by different religious bodies. Personal laws have been codified in many Muslim countries, including neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, to maintain consistency when disputes arise. The resistance in codifying the same in India is surprising, to say the least.

Instead of questioning the right of the Supreme Court, Muslim bodies like the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Jamait-Ulama-E-Hind and others should initiate the process for codifying personal law. They can take up such codified laws of other countries as reference. Once done, all disputes for personal law will be settled by courts according to them, provided they do not come in conflict with the constitution of India. The Constitution is, and will, remain the ultimate reference book.