10/08/2009

One More Question on the Muslim Personal Law

The commission set up by the Government to supervise and improve the present system of law, has submitted it’s report to the central Law Minister Veerappa Moily. It should be kept in mind that since the past few days dissatisfaction is being expressed over the present system in the country specially the Judicial system. Some groups have stated that it is very important to remove some of the evils that are present. There is dissatisfaction over the structure too. The way corruption has started engulfing this system, concerns are also raised over this. Stress has been given to make justice simple and easy and the harms of not getting justice at the right have also been included. Talks have also been done to make the judicial system better because the weight of such cases is going on increasing in which the decision is pending. This can be realised from the fact that the number of such cases have risen up to fifty thousand and in other higher courts that is 21 High Courts the number of such cases has become even more than 37lakhs and it is still going on increasing. The complaints of malpractices and corruption are also increasing. Like politics, even on the courts the shadow of the anti social elements is not only cast it is increasing, so much so that doubts on the character of some of the higher officials of the judiciary have been expressed. In this regard, this matter is also worth considering that the process of impeachment of the judges should also be made easy and their complete picture should come out in front of the public. Just like it is necessary that all important information regarding the politicians should be public in the same way this should be applicable for the judges as well.

Keeping all these things in mind the Government formed this commission, it’s chief was the former Chief Justice A R Lakshman. Where on one hand the commission has diverted the attention of the government towards various other things and presented their opinion, also given recommendations, together with it they have also raised a very sensitive issue. It is not clear whether it was in it’s scope or not, meaning whether it’s opinion was asked for or not. If not then why did it feel the need to express it’s opinion on it, it is therefore necessary to ponder upon this matter. The sensitive issue which it has been touched is related to Muslim Personal Law. According to the information received it has raised questions about the number of wives in it’s report. They have not only raised objections but they have also given the verdict that the law of having multiple wives which is prevalent among the Muslims is against the real teaching and soul of Islam. This is an obsolete thought which has a lot of bad things included in it. Although the commission also have the knowledge that in India among the Muslims the tradition of keeping more than one wife is very less and very few men can be found with more than one wife. In spite of that the commission feel the need to change this tradition. It is being told that one argument which the commission has presented in support of it’s opinion or thought is that in most of the Muslim countries either this law is nullified or it has been restricted rather legal actions are being taken in order to make it non-functional. However the commission has not stated in clear terms that there should be a change in Muslim Personal Law. One reason for this could be that keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter and fear that some pandemonium might start, no such recommendation was made. However the things mentioned in the remarks are not new, the old things have been repeated. Moreover by doing so it has renewed the old debate and probably has also made it clear that this matter is still alive. The final verdict is to be made yet.

10/08/09 Editorial, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Asma Anjum Siddiqui

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