Lunchseminarium: Religion-based ‘Personal’ Law, Legal Pluralism and Secularity: A Field-view of Adjudication of Muslim Personal Law in India
- Date: –13:30
- Location: Engelska parken Venue 22, 2-0023
- Lecturer: Suchandra Ghosh, Assistant Professor, Jhargram Raj College (West Bengal) India.
- Organiser: Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre (CRS)
- Contact person: Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon
Ms Ghosh will make a presentation based on work for her Phd (recently submitted at Humanities and Social Sciences Department of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur).
Abstract: In India, the phenomenon of ‘legal pluralism’ is conditioned and facilitated by the commitment of the democratic state to religious freedom and socio-cultural diversity. Articles 25 to 29 of the Indian Constitution confer and safeguard this freedom to its citizens. Although community-based adjudicating institutions such as the Dar-ul-Qazas function within this constitutional framework, every citizen also has the right to approach a civil court as and when they deem necessary. As a result, the disputes that fall within the ambit of personal law can be dealt with both religious and secular courts. So far, the discourse on Islam, personal law, and the secular state have revolved around the question of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and gender justice, leaving out the sociological investigations on how disputes involving the issues of kinship and inheritance are resolved among different religious communities. Using a sociological lens, the present study shifts the focus of the personal law debate from codification and reform to the social matrix of the law and praxis of conflict resolution. Drawing on a long-standing history of legislation and reform of the Muslim personal law and an ethnography of cases from the religious forum of dispute resolution, the study offers a ‘field-view’ of dispute resolution and legal pluralism. The findings from the Dar-ul-Qazas were corroborated by observations and cases from civil/family courts to understand the collocation between the multiple forums. Thereby, the research comments on the complex negotiations between the religious and the secular in the context of post-colonial nation states.