Women don't need a uniform civil code, but better access to courts: Flavia Agnes
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) debate has the whole country divided. While most are enraged by the questionnaire sent out by Law Commision of India, others have added their bits to the discussion by saying that the country is not ready for a UCC keeping the current socio-political situation in mind.
Catch spoke to lawyers, activists, academics and feminists to bring you an informed perspective on the UCC. After speaking to Professor Mary John from Centre for Women's Development Studies, Delhi, we speak to Flavia Agnes to take the debate forward.
Flavia Agnes is an eminent lawyer, who has worked extensively on women's rights and law reforms. She is the co-founder of reputed feminist organisation Majlis, a legal and cultural resource centre for women. Agnes is among the pioneers of the women's movement in India.
Here are excerpts from the chat:
The personal laws of all religions are discriminatory towards women. Do you think, in principle, a UCC is a good idea to address this problem?
Flavia Agnes (FA): All personal laws are gender unjust, but they are not gender unjust in the same way.
For instance, among certain Hindus communities, the marriage rituals include kanyadaan where the daughter is "given away" as though she is a commodity, and girls are considered as paraya dhan (someone else's wealth) and once married, are considered as outsiders. This is one of the essential marriage rituals under Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act.