CHENNAI: The push for uniform civil code by the Hindu rightists stems neither from the love of uniformity nor equality but from the love of majoritarianism, said Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal at a national seminar at the Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed (JBAS) College for Women in Teynampet on Saturday.
The seminar on the topic of ‘Muslim Personal Law in the Present Context’ saw Gandhi along with a host of dignitaries including the Nawab of Arcot, Carnatic vocalist T.M Krishna, Chairman of Kasturi and Sons N. Ram and advocate-activist Flavia Agnes discuss the Muslim personal law against the backdrop of the political climate in the country.
Justice G M Akbar Ali, retd judge, Madras High Court, said that the Supreme Court had already laid out its stand clearly as was seen in the Shamim Ara case even as early as in 2002 when the court ruled that the triple talaq was invalid and had to be pronounced as per the Quranic injunction in order to stand.
Even so, that the debate has been rekindled time and again even after 20 years of the landmark ruling befuddled the experts.
While their opinions on whether or not the uniform civil code were necessarily varied, they all held that the ruling party had no business to interfere with the affairs of minority communities.
“The triple talaq is indeed wrong and the uniform civil code is indeed necessary but the ones who are saying it should have the moral authority to do so,” said Gandhi, in a thinly veiled reference to the party in power.
Salma, Tamil poet, said that the image that Islam has today could be due to its silence on issues such as women’s equality that the Quran endorses.
“If we learn to enforce our rights according to the Quran, others will not be able to interfere,” she said.
As for the debate surrounding polygamy, A. Faizur Rahman of Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thoughts said that it was accepted in Islam as a form of social remedy as opposed to a right, at a time when in some countries, during the war, the society was left with women in large numbers and a few men.
The Nawab of Arcot, Mohammed Abdul Ali, said the uniform civil code would not only affect Muslims but the Hindus as well.