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Missing Reforms in Muslim Community

After burning its fingers by nullifying the decision of Supreme Court in Shah Bano case and passing the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, the Rajiv Gandhi government made an agreement with Muslim clergy to work on initiating reforms in the community and codifying the Muslim Personal Law.

But over the decades, the stamina to implement these reforms in the community has slowly petered out. No step has been taken on codifying Muslim Personal Law. Some of the reforms that were proposed and could have been taken are:

Codification of law: As Muslim Personal Law remains to be codified, the judgment in any case is at the discretion of interpretation of Sharia law by the qazi or maulvi listening to the matter.
Model Nikahnama: This was meant to be a standard marriage contract for Muslims, something like a pre-nuptial agreement. It also proposed mediation and arbitration in divorce and required the mandatory presence of guardian s or parents during marriages to prevent forced marriages.

Triple Talaq:
It was proposed that talaq pronounced in one sitting should not dissolve marriage. There should be a three month iddat before any separation or pronouncement of talaq for the third time thus, leading to dissolution of marriage.

Mehr: Mehr is a fixed sum of money given as a security for the women. It was proposed that mehr should be decided as per the financial status of man. But mehr continues to remain a nominal amount.

Halala: Under Sharia law, a divorced woman can remarry her first husband only after marrying and getting divorced the second time to a different man. This practice is often misused and it leads to exploitation of women.

Faskh: It is a procedure by which women can initiate separation from her husband. The proposal was made to ease faskh but it remains available only on certain grounds and only if the woman is able to produce evidence of cruelty.

Polygamy and dowry: It was proposed to get a written permission from the first wife if the man wanted to take on a second wife.
Hazanaah: Child custody of a male child automatically goes to father after the child turns seven years of age while the girl child remains with the mother. It was proposed to analyze the socio-economic and mental conditions of both parents before deciding on the custody of a child.

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