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Law and Gender InequalityThe Politics of Women's Rights in India$
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Flavia Agnes

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195655247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195655247.001.0001

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Erosion of Secular Principles

Erosion of Secular Principles

(p.94) 7 Erosion of Secular Principles
Law and Gender Inequality

Flavia Agnes

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates the extent to which the state adhered to the principle of a unified secular family law. It explains that the first departure of the state from the declared objective was the codification of the Hindu family law followed by the enactment of special laws for its Hindu citizens. During the decades that followed, the state moved further away from its declared objective of a uniform and secular family law. In several instances, the vested, patriarchal and community interests of the influential sections superseded the rights of women and children. This chapter also discusses efforts to constrain the scope of civil marriage law, the Shah Bano controversy, the Muslim Women’s Bill, and the efforts to constrain the scope of Civil Marriage Law.

Keywords:   secular family law, Hindu family law, special laws, Hindu citizens, rights of women, rights of children, Shah Bano controversy, Muslim Women’s Bill, Civil Marriage Law

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