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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 16 Apr 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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All the Shah Banos Get Right to Maintenance


By Samanwaya Rautray

April 7, 2015

New Delhi: NO EXCEPTION ALLOWED Right to maintenance of a wife absolute, Sec 125 of CrPC will apply to divorced Muslim women too: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday said the right to maintenance of a wife was absolute and no exceptions could be made, ruling that Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which embodies this rule, would apply to divorced Muslim women as well. “If the husband is healthy , able-bodied and is in a position to support himself, he is under the legal obligation to support his wife, for the wife's right to receive maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, unless disqualified, is an absolute right,“ a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant said.

SC clarified maintenance under the section cannot be restricted in any way for divorced Muslim women who would be entitled to the allowance as long as they do not re marry . “The amount of maintenance to be award edunder Section 125 CrPC cannot be restricted for the iddat period only,“ the court said, citing an earlier ruling by a Constitution bench. The clarification would help divorced Muslim women whose right to maintenance was curtailed by a law passed in Parliament by the Rajiv Gandhi government in the wake of the top court's Shah Bano ruling.

Though family courts have over the years whittled down the rigour of the law to give relief to divorced Muslim women too, the court's ruling settles the issue that civil law of the land would prevail over any personal laws.

“There can be no shadow of doubt that an order under Section 125 CrPC can be passed if a person, despite having sufficient means, neglects or refuses to maintain the wife,“ the bench said. “Sometimes, a plea is advanced by the husband that he does not have the means to pay for he does not have a job or his business is not doing well. These are only bald excuses and, in fact, they have no acceptability in law.“

The court said this in a case involving one Shamima Farooqui from Lucknow. She was ill-treated by her husband Shahid Khan, who later remarried. Her application filed in 1998 was taken up in 2012. Khan was a Nayak in the Army who earned `17,654 per month, including perks. The family court initially granted her `2,000 per month and later `4,000 per month after recording that she had no other means of supporting herself.

However, the high court reduced it to `2,000 per month, taking note of the fact that the husband had retired from the Army in 2012. This drew the top court's ire. “In today's world, it is extremely difficult to conceive that a woman of her status would be in a position to manage within `2,000 per month... The inherent and fundamental principle behind Section 125 is for amelioration of financial state of affairs...“


Muslim Study on Women Gets Fatwa

By Priyangi Agarwal

April 14, 2015

Bareilly: The Sunni Barelvi Markaz of Dargah Ala Hazrat on Saturday passed a fatwa decrying the findings of a survey by Shumaila Anjum, a research student of the law department at Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (MJP) Rohilkhand University , on Muslim women's views on marriage, divorce and maintenance allowance.

The survey said 40% Muslim women wanted a change in the Shariat law, 30% wanted the right to divorce, and as many as 80% demanded equal right in property as men. Twenty per cent were of the opinion that the time period of `iddat' should be scrapped.


In Today’s Polarised Atmosphere, Time for a Uniform Civil Code is Not Yet Ripe

December 15, 2014

Law minister Sadananda Gowda is right when he says that a uniform civil code is mandated by the Constitution. Article 44 establishes having a uniform code is a directive principle of state policy. BJP likes to cite Congress’s failure to establish a uniform civil code as an example of its perverse secularism.

If Hindu personal laws can be modernised and freed from religious edicts, why can’t the same be done for other personal laws? And once this is done, what is the rationale for having separate personal laws governing secular matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and so on for every religious denomination? This is not the practice in any other secular country.

Even many Muslim countries have dropped archaic practices permitted in India such as divorce through triple talaaq.

While a uniform, modern and elegant civil code would grant equal rights to women and generally make citizens’ lives simpler, the biggest flaw in the case for it is, well, that the case is being made by BJP and sangh parivar affiliates not known otherwise for their secularism. You can’t advocate a uniform code in one breath and Ram mandir in the next: each contradicts the other. A string of statements from BJP worthies over just the last couple of weeks demonstrates why their secular bonafides are suspect, leading to distrust.

Union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti infamously pronounced anyone not a progeny of Ram to be a haramzada. BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj confessed, on the floor of Parliament, his admiration for Gandhi’s murderer Nathuram Godse. From the high office of UP’s governor, Ram Naik called for building the Ram temple. State BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai claimed Taj Mahal to be part of an ancient Hindu temple. And this list is by no means exhaustive.

BJP’s communalism is thus the mirror image of Congress’s selective secularism and no reasonable middle ground has emerged. In the circumstances it’s best for NDA to focus on the economy, governance and security matters for now and leave more controversial issues for later. As it is, the steady stream of sectarian statements from BJP and fellow travellers provide a handle to opposition to unite and block measures to revive the economy.

Pushing a uniform code now will only make matters worse and come in the way of any constructive work from getting done.