LETS get provocative. BJP is the upholder of secularism. And judiciary follows politics closely. Or what else would you make of the facts connected with Tuesday's instant triple talaq verdict? Its yet another instance of BJP reading the mood of the nation, as Congress whirls in the vortex of its appeasement politics.
Its chronicled history of how Rajiv Gandhi government gave in to the ulema in overturning the Shah Bano verdict through a legislation. Arif Mohamed Khan is still alive to tell the tale. While on the one hand it left the judiciary confused on personal laws and the larger secularism question, on the other it fueled a counter right wing narrative of majority victimhood, scripting BJP's rise through the decade of 90s. Post Shah Bano, the Supreme Court touched questions of triple talaq and personal laws in case after case with a barge pole under Congress, giving most progressive interpretations of constitution on personal laws only during intervening periods of BJP rule.
Thus it is no coincidence that in 1995 Sarla Mudgal case Supreme Court rued lack of climate to even debate the uniform civil code. Two years later in the Ahmedabad Women's Action Group petition, the apex court still thought issues like talaq and polygamy remained the domain of the legislature. Both verdicts quoted by AIMPLB lawyers were under Congress and United Front governments.
Though the laissez faire on personal laws continued, SC demurred a bit in the 2001 Daniel Latifi case, acknowledging some connect between dignity of muslim women and fundamental right to life under Article 21. Lordships showed a little more courage in Javed vs. State of Haryana in 2003, terming polygamy as bad as Sati. Guess what both during BJP led NDA government!
So it comes as no surprise that instant triple talaq stands abolished in the country under a regime headed by Narendra Modi. Since October last, the Prime Minister has spoken with conviction on at least six occasions, taking cudgels on behalf of embattled muslim women. The BJP succeeded in tying the issue with the secularism debate. PM tweeted, and party chief Amit Shah addressed a press conference. The party would have no qualms admitting they see a constituency in half of the muslim population of the country. Congress on the other hand looked adrift, wooden, and even dishonest. Having so easily scripted arguably the most progressive Hindu reform after the Code Bills by giving Hindu women succession rights in parental property in 2005, Congress was again found playing footsie with ulema what with two of its leaders, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khursheed, representing the most regressive AIMPLB against Shaira Bano. No wonder which party comes out as more in command, and in tune with the mood of the nation.