NEW DELHI: The Muslim Personal Law Board said on Thursday termed the Law Commission questionnaire to gauge public opinion on triple talaq and other anti-women practices as “fraud”, adding that it will boycott it.
Calling it not feasible for India, the Muslim Law Board also said that the law commission isn’t acting independently and is instead acting at the behest of the Centre, which last week opposed the practice of triple talaq in the Supreme Court. The board said it can’t be regarded as an essential part of religion.
“A uniform civil code is not good for this nation. There’re so many cultures in this nation, (they) have to be respected. India can’t impose a single ideology,” said the Board’s Hazrat Maulana Wali Rahmani at a press briefing today.
The Commission in its questionnaire asks whether triple talaq – which according to Islamic law based on the Koran permits a husband to pronounce talaq three times to instantly divorce his wife – should be abolished altogether, retained only in customs without legal sanctity, or retained with suitable amendments.
The Muslim Law Board has consistently said that is a ‘personal law’ and hence cannot be modified by the Centre.
“We are living in this country with an agreement held by the constitution. The constitution has made us live and practice our religion. In America everyone follows their personal laws and identity, how come our nation doesn’t want to follow their steps in this matter?” Rahmani said.
The Centre has countered the claim of the Muslim Law Board and said, “practices of triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala cannot be regarded as essential part of religion and hence get no protection under fundamental right to religion.”
Rahmani and other Board officials today also indicated that they feel Muslims are discriminated against.
“Muslims equally participated in India’s freedom struggle, but their participation is always underestimated,” a Board official said.
The Commission, though, said its questionnaire asks for opinion on practices across religions – not just Islam – that many call anti-women, Justice BS Chauhan, chairman of the Law Commission, told TOI earlier.
For example, while one question on the list of 16 is about triple talaq, another is asking the public what steps are needed to “ensure that Hindu women are better able to exercise their right to property, which is often bequeathed to sons under customary practices”.
Justice B S Chauhan, chairman of the Law Commission, told TOI that formulating the questions was an elaborate affair involving several meetings of the Commission, in addition to consultations with numerous experts in the field.
“It took us two months to frame the questions keeping in mind prevailing customs and practices in different religions to elicit meaningful responses from the public,” he said.