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Abstract

In India, with the change of political leadership at the center, the sanctity of religion- based Muslim family law has been contested. This has led to the development of a new socio-political discourse which is influenced and shaped by the basic feminist ideals of equal rights for women. In this discourse, Muslim women are portrayed as necessarily suffering from unjust family laws and needing immediate cover and protection from the secular state. In the light of the judicial reform which makes the practice of instant divorce through ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims a punishable offence, this article discusses that for Muslim women the domain of law is liminal and they choose between multiple legal forums to increase their access to justice. It explores how Muslim women approach different alternative forums, and in what ways Muslim women activists are creating an opportunity for the distressed women to resolve their marital disputes more efficiently. Such an examination provides important insights into how Muslim women’s rights activists undertake their pursuit of justice within a complex, legally pluralistic landscape in the area of Muslim family law in India.

Note on the Author

Dr. Qazi Sarah Rasheed completed her Ph.D. in Sociology from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. Her research interests lie in the fields of family law, feminist studies, grassroots initiatives, and South Asian women’s activism. Email: qsarahrasheed@gmail.com

Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma is Emeritus Fellow in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. His areas of interest include gender studies, rural development, and Sociology of health. Email: arunk@iitk.ac.in

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