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  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
  • Small saving rates slashed by the government by 140 basis points
  • The Centre says that the exodus of the migrants was stopped to save villages and prevent community transmission
  • The Centre says March 31 will remain the closing date for FY 2019-2020 and no change will be made for Covid-19 disruption
  • Tablighi Jamaat fiasco puts several states on high alert, attendees and their contacts being traced
  • Stock markets recover on the last day of the financial year, but the sentiment remains weak
  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
Total count crosses 1600 in India with 52 deaths and 146 recoveries on Tuesday, spurt in cases in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu
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Muslim Personal Law & Indian Constitution

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-02-07 20:27:38

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.