CUTTACK: With a new NDA Government at the Centre, Muslim women under the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) have stepped up their demand for codification of Muslim Personal Law (MPL), according equal rights to them.
Releasing a draft law put together in consultation with Islamic scholars, lawyers, jurists and academicians, the BMMA called upon the Government to adopt it and bring about a gender-just MPL based on the Holy Quran.
While there are elaborate existing laws as Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Succession Act and Divorce Act for Christians and laws based on religious texts for other socio-religious communities, the Muslim community does not have any law in written or codified form.
“As a result, women get divorced unilaterally and thrown out with nowhere to go. Similarly, there is a huge misinformation about the right of a Muslim man to marry more than once. Polygamy is not given a free hand in Quran, which in fact points towards monogamy as an ideal.
The draft MPL is an effort to put an end to such suffering of Muslim women,” State convener of BMMA and Bold Initiative Research and Documentation (BIRD) Farhat Amin said.
The draft MPL calls for stipulating minimum age of marriage for both men and women at 21 and 18 respectively and imposing total ban on the oral Triple Talaq (divorce) system. All marriages should be compulsorily registered and divorce should take place through a well-laid out Quran-based procedure of Talak-e-Ahsan.
As per the draft, maintenance support for wife and children during marriage, separation and divorce should be made mandatory. The rules for custody of children in the event of divorce should be based on the principle that mother and father are natural guardians. The law also lays down the responsibilities of Qazis and arbitrators.
“The BMA has resolved to undertake a nationwide campaign to make people aware on the need for a codified MPL and pressurise the Government to act on it. The copies of the draft MPL have been sent to the Law Ministry, NHRC, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission of Women, MPs, State governments and other stakeholders,” Amin said
■ minimum age of marriage for both men and women at 21 and 18 respectively and imposing total ban on the oral Triple Talaq (divorce) system
■ the rules for custody of children in the event of divorce should be based on the the principle that mother and father are natural guardians