Less than a week after the Law Commission asked if the practice of triple talaq could be abolished and whether a uniform civil code should be optional, the All India Muslim Personal Law (AIMPLB) Board on Thursday announced its boycott of the Law Commission’s questionnaire.
“(Prime Minister Narendra Modi) has triggered an internal war in this country. All Muslims will respond to this – in large numbers,” the AIMPLB said. “You can’t impose a single ideology in India.”
“The Uniform Civil Code is not good for this nation. There are so many cultures in this nation which have to be respected,” Hazrat Maulana Wali Rehman of the Muslim Personal Law Board (MPLB) said.
He alleged that the commission is not independent but working as a government body. “We will boycott the law commission, the law commission is biased,” Rehman said.
This was the first time the government took a stand against the contentious custom that many women’s groups say is discriminatory. Under Muslim personal law based on the Sharia, a Muslim man can divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq thrice. Muslim men are also allowed to have four wives.
Stating that they were living in this country with an agreement held by the Constitution which had let them live and practice their religion, an AIMPLB member said,” In America, everyone follows their personal laws and identity, how come our nation doesn’t want to follow their steps in this matter?”
The AIMPLB’s statement comes after Law Commission released a questionnaire on October 7 which included 16 questions regarding the relevance and need of UCC, its impact on women’s development, triple talaq among other things.
The questionnaire comes in the backdrop of a case being heard in Supreme Court regarding the relevance of triple talaq. The case was filed by one Shayara Bano who challenged the practice and her petition was later merged with similar petitions by other organisations including the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
In an appeal issued, the Commission said the objective behind the endeavour is to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise the various cultural practices even as it assured the people that the “norms of no one class, group or community will dominate the tone and tenor of family law reforms”.
In an accompanying questionnaire, the Commission has asked whether the existing personal laws and customary practices needed codification and whether it would benefit people.