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Reforms in Personal Laws in India (Part II)

Reforms in Personal Laws in India (Part II) – let’s talk about new developments in Equality and Justice in Personal Laws. Dr. Tanmeet Kaur Sahiwal, Chairperson, School of Law, NMIMS Bengaluru analyzes the topic.


Reforms in Personal Laws in India (Part II)

In a historic move, the Supreme Court declared the practice of talaq-e-bidat (triple talaq) among Muslims unconstitutional on August 22, 2017. This judgment aimed to protect Muslim women’s rights by invalidating a practice that allowed husbands to unilaterally divorce their wives, often leaving them financially vulnerable.

Tribal Personal Laws

Despite these progressive reforms, certain segments of the population remained excluded from their purview, particularly the tribal communities. None of the aforementioned acts applies to the Scheduled Tribes, as per Article 366, Clause 25 of the Constitution. Special provisions have been made for tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram through the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. These provisions grant District Councils and Regional Councils the authority to make laws regarding inheritance, marriage, divorce and social customs. Similar demands for special provisions have arisen in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand from tribal communities.

The Path Forward

While significant progress has been made in reforming personal laws, further changes are undoubtedly necessary. The 21st Law Commission emphasized the need to address discriminatory laws rather than immediately pursuing a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). It argued that cultural diversity must be preserved without compromising the territorial integrity of the country. This approach recognizes the complexity of the Indian legal landscape and the importance of respecting diverse traditions.

The journey of reforming personal laws in India has been one of both progress and challenge. While commendable amendments have been made, particularly in areas such as gender equality and property rights, further reforms remain on the horizon. Achieving true equality and justice in personal matters is not just a legal endeavor but a social transformation that necessitates a delicate balance between respecting cultural diversity and upholding fundamental rights.

As India continues to evolve, it is necessary that the nation perseveres on its path toward ensuring that all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs or tribal affiliations, enjoy equal rights and justice under the law.


About Yashaswini K

Controversy is the second name of Yashaswini. She goes where something is amiss and picks up the threads to make a clear story out of it. She has also written 2 books in the Radha Srinivasan Mystery Series.

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