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The debate on triple talaq and UCC: Constitutional law should supersede customs framed under religion
During various debates on triple talaq, I always get amused to note the foolish arguments of some moderate Muslims. They say that they are against triple talaq, but at the same time also say that they are against the implementation of uniform civil code. The point here is that abolishing triple talaq is very much linked to uniform civil code. But they appear to be confused between religion, politics and anti-RSS mindset. But before that, let's consider the conservative view.

I can understand the stand of conservative Muslims, ulemas and other pro-Shariat civil bodies. They argue that because India is a democracy, they have the right to practice their religion under their own civil code as freedom of religion in guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 25 to 28. These conservatives don't want to understand that freedom of religion has nothing to do with civil codes.

Articles 25 to 28 give the right to practice religion, managing religious matters, congregation and most importantly following religious rituals. And then according to their argument of precedence, they should accept that Articles 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of Right to Equality precede Articles 25 to 28, so this should be non-negotiable even if the religion says so. Moreover, `Equality' is the word incorporated in the preamble of the Constitution making it mandatory right of every citizen.

But then, these conservatives know one thing very well that they have the power of vote bank. Thus, no political party (mostly self-proclaimed secularists) ever dares to negate their point. The Shah Bano case is proof enough of their power where Rajiv Gandhi government despite having two-thirds majority had to concede to the demands of Islamic orthodoxy and amended the Constitution for negating the Supreme Court order.

But the situation is different today. It is the Modi government which has now taken a stand against such discriminatory codes. Since Narendra Modi doesn't depend on minority vote banks, he is not under any kind of fear or pressure for implementing the Constitutional mandate. Accordingly, the government of India has submitted its point of view opposing triple talaq. The GOI has also established a law commission inviting views of people regarding uniform civil code.

Now let's talk about the moderate Muslim view. They say that they are against triple talaq but at the same time they are also against uniform civil code. I don't know, what their confusion is? A civil code means matters related to marriage, divorce, allowing maintenance to divorced women, inheritance, adoption etc. I don't think anybody should have any objection against a common code on inheritance, adoption and other such issues. The main controversial parts of the UCC are triple talaq and polygamy. The moderate Muslims realise that polygamy and triple talaq should go. If these controversial religious provisions are done away with, why would there be any problem with implementing UCC? Is it only because RSS argues for it? But if tomorrow RSS argues against breathing, should you stop breathing?

Many Islamic scholars who have supported UCC also say that Quran doesn't approve discriminatory provisions like triple talaq or polygamy. Some 29 Islamic countries have already abolished triple talaq. When Islamic countries are abolishing such discriminatory provisions, how can one in the name of secularism (meaning no-concern with religion) demand religious practices that compromise the fundamental rights of Muslim women guaranteed by the Indian Constitution?

Some even foolishly argue that how can Muslims marry in Hindu tradition by circling around the holy fire. This is ridiculous. Uniform civil code warrants uniformity in rights not on rituals. Rituals must be followed as per one's own religion, tradition and faith. Rituals and rights are two separate issues. While rights can't be compromised, following rituals according to religion is totally optional and lies under the prerogative of the individual.

Muslim youth should come out demanding the up keep of fundamental rights of everyone. This is one India. A particular gender from one community shouldn't be discriminated against, insulted and tortured because of some ritual. One thing that should be remembered is although every religion has its own specific rituals, at the same time every citizen of this country has rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In a secular democratic country, the Constitution is above all religions, holy books, customs, rituals and traditions.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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