With the Law Commission seeking public opinion on Uniform Civil Code and triple talaq, the women's rights group demanding a ban on the practice has stressed on the need for a codified Muslim personal law and strengthening the Special Marriages Act.
"We believe a secular law already exists in the form of the Special Marriages Act. It can be expanded and made more comprehensive to include more aspects of marriage, family and inheritance. This secular alternative should be made available to every Indian citizen," said Zakia Soman, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
"But at the same time, a reform in the Muslim personal law is very urgently needed. Reforms have been carried out in other religions but not in Islam. We want a codified Muslim personal law just like the Hindu Marriage Act and the Hindu Succession Act and the Christian Marriage and Divorce Act," she said.
She advocated giving a choice to an individual to follow the personal law of his or her religion or the secular Special Marriages Act.
"Let's have a very strong Special Marriages Act and an equally strong Muslim Marriage Act as well and leave it for the citizen to decide what he or she wants to follow," the activist said.
Soman also welcomed the Centre's response in the SC on triple talaq where the government said there is a need to look at the issue through the prism of gender rights.
"It is a very welcome move by the Centre. The stand they have taken is in keeping with the government's constitutional obligation of gender justice. We really hope our quest for reform in Muslim personal law will be furthered by this affidavit," she added.
The law panel has sought public views on Uniform Civil Code to revise and reform family laws, saying the aim is to address social injustice rather than plurality of laws.