Muslim women in Islamic countries enjoy more equality than in India, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said today reacting to the Centre’s reply in Supreme Court on triple talaq where it favoured a relook on the law on constitutional grounds.
“The Centre’s stand on triple talaq is right. We should be thinking about rights of women. The practice is not prevalent in other Muslim countries where they have more equality,” she said.
The Ministry of Law and Justice, in its affidavit in the Supreme Court, referred to constitutional principles like gender equality and secularism.
“The issue of validity of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy needs to be considered in the light of principles of gender justice and the overriding principle of non-discrimination, dignity and equality,” it said.
The Centre said that religion could not be the reason to deny equal status to women.
“The fundamental question for determination by this court is whether, in a secular democracy, religion can be a reason to deny equal status and dignity available to women under the Constitution of India,” it said.
The government also underlined the need to examine personal laws in the light of gender justice.
“Personal law must be examined in the light of overarching goal of gender justice of women … The question arises as to whether the preservation of such diverse identities can be a pretext for denying to women the status and gender equality they are entitled to,” it said, adding that personal law is a “law” within the meaning of the Constitution and “any such law which is inconsistent with fundamental rights is void”.