She and her poor labourer husband were ostracised by her father-in-law’s neighbours who accused her of filing a false complaint. In spite of all hardships she continued her pursuit for justice. Finally, the father-in-law was convicted. The courage of the then 28-year-old mother of five in lodging the complaint against all odds, and the support she received from her husband needs to be applauded.
While the ruling has aroused a great deal of interest, contradictory opinions have been expressed by legal scholars and other experts as to whether the ruling is in the right spirit and will empower Muslim women or it will adversely impact their rights.
My own reading of the judgment is that it is balanced and will help bolster Muslim women’s rights without encroaching upon the freedom awarded to minorities under Article 25 of the Constitution. Aggrieved persons have the right to approach a civil court for appropriate remedies. One always knew it, but this ruling has helped bring clarity.
The writer is a women’s rights lawyer and director of the Legal Centre of Majlis
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