There is a liberal school of thought that believes that the so called uniform civil code should come into existence more through consensus rather through legislation. That viewpoint has its skeptics (I was one of them), but The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) seems set to renounce its covert (and overt?) support to a regressive and anti-women practice of triple talaq.
This is a major development in the recent times, and is a sign that there is non-trivial will to reforms from within the Indian Muslim community. Yes, it stops short of the goal of uniform civil code, but it’s nonetheless much more civil than the earlier (outdated) religious law.
The new talaqnama, carefully drafted by the Board clerics after carrying out deliberations for three years, disapproves of the age-old three-talaaq system and replaces it with the Shariat-approved ‘phased-talaaq’.Under the new talaqnama, the separating couples would be given a minimum of three months to reconcile, instead of shauhar (husband) just firing talaaqs to separate without giving any chance to his begum.
Muslim women, who virtually had no separation rights till now, have also been given equal rights to approach the Qazi for separation against their erring husbands.
The Board is also recommending increase in ‘Mehr’, which is fixed at the time of marriage. Parents would be advised to fix a staggering amount to protect matrimony of their daughters.
I think those who are really concerned about the plight of Muslim women (and for that reason demand UCC), should at least partly welcome these developments.