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Articles of FaithReligion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court$
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Ronojoy Sen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780198063803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198063803.001.0001

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Imposing Legal Uniformity

Imposing Legal Uniformity

The Court and Muslim Minority Rights

(p.128) 6 Imposing Legal Uniformity
Articles of Faith

Ronojoy Sen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of court decisions on India's largest minority, the Muslims, primarily through the prism of personal laws and the Uniform Civil Code issue. The Supreme Court's intervention in Muslim personal law was most controversial in the now famous Shah Bano case. In a later case, Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India, the Supreme Court went further and categorically stated that there was no necessary connection between ‘religion and personal law in a civilized society’. In both cases, the Supreme Court linked the Uniform Civil Code with national unity and integration. This chapter argues that the Court's project of homogenizing religion comes across clearly in the personal law cases. The Court's rhetoric can be seen as an example of legal universalism. This has ended up having an adverse impact on minority rights and multiculturalism in India.

Keywords:   India, Supreme Court, Muslims, minority rights, personal laws, Uniform Civil Code, religion, multiculturalism, national unity, court decisions

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