NEW DELHI -- Personal laws like the institution of 'triple talaq' among Muslims need to be constitutionally compliant, according to Finance minister Arun Jaitley. The senior BJP leader and lawyer, in a post on Facebook on Sunday, wrote that the constitutional validity of the Muslim personal law was distinct from the Uniform Civil Code, and the latter should not be conflated with reforms in personal laws of different communities.
"There is a fundamental distinction between religious practices, rituals and civil rights," he wrote. "Personal laws have to be constitutionally compliant and the institution of Triple Talaq, therefore, will have to be judged on the yardstick of equality and the Right to Live with Dignity."
"Needless to say that the same yardstick would be applicable to all other personal laws."
He referred to the growing realisation of gender equality among communities, stressing on the right of women to live with dignity, and the reform of personal laws that threaten that dignity.
On the government's affidavit in the Supreme Court on the triple talaq case, after a group of women and social organisations have submitted petitions against the Muslim personal law, Jaitley claimed that the present government was responding to change and evolution of Indian society.
"With passage of time, several provisions became obsolete, archaic and even got rusted," he wrote.
"A conservative view found judicial support over six decades ago that personal laws could be inconsistent with personal guarantees. Today it may be difficult to sustain that proposition. The Government's affidavit in the triple talaq case recognises this evolution."
Read his full post below:
Meanwhile, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told The Hindu that the Centre's affidavit to the apex court "was based on the principles of assuring gender justice, gender equality and dignity."
He added that Hindu personal laws had also been similarly changed over the course of time.
"Sati was abolished, the age of consent for marriage amended by the Sharda Act, Dowry prohibition laws came in after there were challenges to these practices," he told The Hindu. "It also shows, therefore, that evolution of law, consistent with these norms of gender justice is integral to India's ethos."
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