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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday made a strong pitch for personal laws being in line with the Constitution.Jaitley also said the laws must be in conformity with the norms of gender equality. He sought to differentiate between the issue of triple talaq — which is before the Supreme Court — and the debate over Uniform Civil Code, a subject on which the Law Commission has initiated an “academic exercise” which can “go on”.
The finance minister made it clear that the issue before the Supreme Court was only with regard to the Constitutional validity of triple talaq.“Governments in the past have shied from taking a categorical stand that personal laws must comply with Fundamental Rights. The present government has taken a clear position,” he said.
Contending that there was a fundamental distinction between religious practices, rituals, and civil rights, Jaitley said religious functions associated with birth, adoption, succession, marriage, death can all be conducted through rituals and customs as per the existing religious practices.
However, Jaitley wondered whether rights emanating from birth, adoption, succession, marriage, divorce be guided by religion or Constitutional guarantees.“Can there be inequality or compromise with human dignity in any of these matters,” the finance minister asked in a Facebook post titled ‘Triple Talaq and Government’s Affidavit’.
The finance minister said a conservative view found judicial support over six decades ago that personal laws could be inconsistent with personal guarantees. “Today, it may be difficult to sustain that proposition. The government’s affidavit in the triple talaq case recognises this evolution,” Jaitley said.
He acknowledged that some people may hold a conservative, if not obsolete, view that personal laws need not be constitutionally compliant.

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