Markandey Katju favours uniform civil law

Press Council of India Chairperson Markandey Katju on Tuesday favoured a uniform civil law in the country, saying the Muslim personal law is “unjust” as it treats women as “inferior”.

“Muslim personal law is an unjust law, it is a barbaric, outdated law because it treats women as inferior. Oral talaq is permitted only to men,” he said.

He claimed that even Hindu law was similarly feudal in nature but changes were made in it after “tremendous efforts” by Jawaharlal Nehru.

There was a time when a Hindu man could marry as many wives and property was inherited only by the son, he claimed.

According to Katju, in the age of equality the same law should be applicable to both men and women.

“If a Muslim woman wants divorce she has to approach a court but a husband can get it by only saying ‘talaq’ thrice,” he said.

“Every modern country has one single law for everybody, it is only here because vote banks are needed,” Katju, who was speaking at an interaction organised by Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), said.

Asked specifically if he favoured a uniform civil law, he relied saying, “Yes, absolutely.”

Speaking about corruption in judiciary, he said it was not there when he had joined but the situation has changed gradually.

Katju said that there is a view that the image of judiciary should not be defamed but added that those indulging in corruption were the ones who were defaming it.

He said whenever something came to his knowledge when he was in office, he would inform authorities concerned like in certain matters the Chief Justice of India so that proper action could be taken.

On a question related to National Judicial Commission, he said that if the people manning a system are right, it will function well.

Speaking further he said that there is no mention of any collegium system in the Constitution.