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Religion and Personal Law in Secular India

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Edited by: Gerald James Larson

ISBN13: 9780253214805
ISBN: 0253214807
Published: July 2004
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback
Price: £16.99



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Though mandated by the constitution, a uniform civil code of law has never been written or instituted in India. As a result, in matters of personal law - the segment of law which concerns marriage, dowry, divorce, parentage, legitimacy, wills and inheritance - individuals of different religious backgrounds must appeal to their respective religious laws for guidance or rulings. But balancing the claims of religious communities with those of a modern secular state has caused some intractable problems for India as a nation.

This study provides a comprehensive look into the issues and challenges that India faces as it tries to put a uniform civil code into practice.;Themes such as the extent and jurisdiction of civil laws, the relationship between religious law and a system of personal law, the desirability of a uniform civil code, the treatment of women and minorities under a single law, and the maintenance of religious pluralism in India, are explored in 16 thought-provoking essays.

Scholars representing a wide range of disciplines, from both North America and India, provide a comparative perspective on complex issues of multiculturalism that characterize Indian society and identities.

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Subjects:
Other Jurisdictions , India
Contents:
Introduction - the secular state in a religious society, Gerald James Larson.
Part 1 The secular state and legal pluralism - the current debate and its historical antecedents: religion, personal law and identity, Granville Austin; religious minorities and the law, Ruma Pal; living with difference in India - legal pluralism and legal universalism in historical context, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph and Lloyd I. Rudolph.
Part 2 Religious endowments, reservations law and criminal law: religious and charitable endowments and a uniform civil code, John H. Mansfield; personal law and reservations - volition and religion in contemporary India, Laura Dudley Jenkins; the uniform civil code debate - lessons from the criminal procedures, Arvind Verma.
Part 3 Personal law and issues of gender: gender implications for a uniform civil code, Robert D. Baird; the personal and the political - Indian women and inheritance law, Srimati Basu; colonialism, nationalism, and gendered legal subjectivities - observations on the historical destruction of separate legal regimes, Kunal M. Parker; who was Roop Kanwar? Sati, law, religion and post-colonial feminism in contemporary India, Paul Courtright and Namita Goswami; ""where will she go? What will she do?"" Paternalism towards women in the administration of Muslim family law in contemporary India, Sylvia Vatuk.
Part 4 Cross-cultural perspectives: affirmative action in the United States and the reservation system in India - some comparative perspectives, Kevin Brown; personal law systems and religious conflict - a comparison of India and Israel, Marc Galanter and Jayanth Krishnan; the road to Xanadu - India's quest for secularism, Rajeev Dhavan.