Muslim leaders distraught over Katju’s comment on Uniform Civil Code

Mr Markandey Katju
Mr Markandey Katju

By MM Special Correspondent ,

New Delhi: Muslim leadership reacted angrily on Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju’s comment on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) saying his support to the controversial issue is unfortunate. All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) spokesperson Qasim Rasul Ilyas said that the personal laws of any community cannot be revoked. It will have disastrous ramifications on the idea of plurality, he said.

All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat president Dr Zafarul Islam Khan said that Katju’s comment was absurd and that he should first go through the Muslims’ personal laws. He, however, said some reform can be made in the light of Quran and Sunnah, but it has nothing to do with the UCC.

Muslim leader and member of AIMPLB , Kamal Farooqui totally rejected Katju’s statement that personal laws are one of the reasons for Muslims’ backwardness.

Meanwhile, Urdu press also criticized Justice Katju  for his weird remarks on Muslim personal law. Daily Akhabar e Mashriq says in its editorial  that  Justice Katju has become a ‘darling’ in Urdu circles for espousing the just cause of Urdu language, but he has invited the ire of the Muslim community by making absurd remarks on the Muslim Personal Law. First of all, Muslim Personal Law does not clashed with any law of the land. Second, the Constitution did not bind any incumbent government to enact UCC. Furthermore, the Constitution gives guarantee of not only religious freedom but also its propagation.  Edit writer asks Justice Katju to compare the condition of women who are governed by other personal laws. ‘We see daily report of bride-burning and rape incidents despite having uniform criminal laws. His argument that Muslim Personal Law is one of the reasons for the backwardness of Muslims has no valid basis. In fact, it provides more protection and dignity to women than other personal laws’.

Another leading Urdu daily Inquilab opines that absurd debates on controversial issues such as Article 370, Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and so-called Ram Temple ensued after the formation of BJP government at the Centre. Some leaders only create mischief by raking up such non- issues which have nothing to do with progress of the country. Interestingly, voices in support of UCC also came from sane quarters. Justice Katju found Muslim personal laws as one of the reasons for the backwardness of the Muslim community. He needs to compare the personal laws of other religious groups with the Muslim personal laws. Has personal law of any community grants mehr – bride gift – to woman? If the UCC reflects majoritarian view, then widows will be left to rot in Varanasi; dowry demands will be legalized. Further, the country cannot afford to implement the UCC by infringing upon rights of minorities’ personal laws. It will disturb not only Muslims’ personal laws, but the personal laws of other communities and tribes also. If there is no uniformity in criminal law, it is absurd to expect a uniform personal law in the country.


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