Personal laws and the Constitution
October 19, 2016
The Centre’s categorical stand that personal laws should be in conformity with the Constitution will be of immense assistance to the Supreme Court in determining the validity of practices such as triple talaq and polygamy. By arguing that such practices impact adversely on the right of women to a life of dignity, the Centre has raised the question whether constitutional protection given to religious practices should extend even to those that are not in compliance with fundamental rights. The distinction between practices essential or integral to a particular religion, which are protected under Article 25, a provision that seeks to preserve the freedom to practise and propagate any religion, and those that go against the concepts of equality and dignity, which are fundamental rights, is something that the court will have to carefully evaluate while adjudicating the validity of the Muslim practices under challenge. From the point of view of the fundamental rights of those affected, mostly women, there is a strong case for these practices to be invalidated. The idea that personal laws of religions should be beyond the scope of judicial review, and that they are not subject to the Constitution, is inherently abhorrent. The affidavit in which the All India Muslim Personal Law Board sought to defend triple talaq and polygamy is but an execrable summary of the patriarchal notions entrenched in conservative sections of society.
This is not the first time that aspects of Muslim personal law have come up for judicial adjudication. On triple talaq, courts have adopted the view that Islam does not sanction divorce without reason or any attempt at reconciliation, and that talaq would not be valid unless some conditions are fulfilled. There are judgments that say the presence of witnesses during the pronouncement of talaq, sound reasons for the husband to seek a divorce and some proof that an attempt was made for conciliation are conditions precedent for upholding a divorce. The present petition before the Supreme Court seeks a categorical ruling that talaq-e-bidat — an irrevocable form of triple talaq that is permitted but considered undesirable in Islam — is unconstitutional. There are many who contend that instant divorce is not allowed, and that the triple talaq has to be spread over a specified time period, during which there are two opportunities to revoke it. Only the articulation of the third makes it irrevocable. It should be possible for the court to test these practices for compliance with the Constitution.
October 18, 2016
Deciding issues of personal law
The Supreme Court can and must make a pronouncement on the widely excoriated practice of triple talaq
Thirteen years ago, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, pleaded in a piece titled ‘Unifying personal laws’ in The Hindu (September 6, 2003): “My powerful plea is that the personal laws may be reformed from within, without a quantum leap into a common code. Remarkable changes in Islamic laws are possible without violating the Quran but adopting progressive hermeneutics.” The issue described as ‘triple talaq’ has unnecessarily been confused with the issue of a uniform civil code, thus thrusting India’s minority Muslim community into the defensive. But this dilemma is essentially a question of whether the Supreme Court can pronounce on an issue of personal law. It is my case that it not only can, but must.
Ruling in the Shah Bano case
The last time that Supreme Court sought to rule in a matter concerning personal law was in 1985 resulting in what has come to be known as the Shah Bano amendment. Shah Bano was married to Mohammed Ahmad Khan, an affluent and well-known advocate of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, in 1932. The couple had five children but after 14 years of marriage Khan took a younger second wife. For a time he lived with both, but when Shah Bano was 62, she was thrown out together with her five children. In April 1978, Khan even stopped giving her the paltry Rs.200 per month that is said to have been promised.
With no means to support herself and her children, Shah Bano petitioned a local court in Indore against her husband citing Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), asking for maintenance of Rs.500 for herself and her children. Khan’s response: in November 1978 he pronounced an irrevocable talaq (divorce), taking the defence that hence Shah Bano had ceased to be his wife and therefore he was under no obligation to provide maintenance for her except as prescribed under the Islamic law, which was her mehr, promised on marriage, Rs.5,400 in all. While courts at different levels directed payment of different sums, all a mere pittance, holding that Section 125 of the CrPC applies to Muslims, in 1980 Khan took the matter in appeal before the Supreme Court claiming that Shah Bano was no more his responsibility because he had a second marriage, which was permissible under Islamic law.
The Supreme Court of India — in a two-judge Bench of Justices Murtaza Fazal Ali and A. Varadarajan who first heard the matter — held in light of the earlier decisions of the court that Section 125 of the CrPC did indeed apply to Muslims, referred Khan’s appeal to a larger Bench. Some Muslim quasi-religious bodies, namely the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, joined the case as intervener.
The matter was then heard by a five-judge Bench chaired by Chief Justice Y.V. Chandrachud and comprising Justices Ranganath Mishra, D.A. Desai, O. Chinnappa Reddy and E.S. Venkataramiah. In a unanimous decision of April 23, 1985 in Mohammed Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum and Ors. (1985 SCR (3) 844), the Supreme Court dismissed Khan’s appeal and confirmed the judgment of the high court. It held unequivocally that “there is no conflict between the provisions of Section 125 and those of the Muslim Personal Law on the question of the Muslim husband’s obligation to provide maintenance for a divorced wife who is unable to maintain herself”. There was no doubt, held the apex court, that the Koran imposes an obligation on the Muslim husband to make provision for or to provide maintenance to the divorced wife. Besides, Section 125 of the CrPC applies to all regardless of caste or creed. So Shah Bano had the right to be given maintenance money, similar to alimony. The court also went on to discuss the desirability of bringing a uniform civil code in India, holding that a common civil code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies.
The clergy backlash
This judgment was vigorously criticised by the Muslim clergy. I was at the time a Director in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), dealing with matters concerning the minorities. I found on my table a slew of petitions and letters criticising the judgment and seeking government intervention to overturn a ruling which in their view irreparably compromised Muslim Personal Law. The principal spokesmen for the clergy were Obaidullah Khan Azmi and Syed Kazi, founding members since 1973 of the AIMPLB, which was set up to safeguard Muslim Personal Law as enacted. But on my table were letters, petitions, and memoranda from organisations of Muslim clerics from across the country.
The source of Muslim Personal Law in India is the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, a law that is a colonial anachronism enacted to win over the Muslim clergy from what was, thanks to the legacy of the war of 1857, a Muslim population largely hostile to the British. As acknowledged in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act, it was in fact moved by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, described in the Act as the “greatest Moslem religious body”.
In my note on the file, I had pointed out that the representations received were primarily from the clergy and seemed to arise from an apprehension that the ascendancy granted to them by the 1937 Act in matters concerning social relations amongst Muslims was under threat. And indeed the law does state in Section 2 that in matters concerning “intestate succession, special property of females, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of Personal Law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq, ila, zihar, lian, khula and mubaraat, maintenance, dower, guardianship, gifts, trusts and trust properties, and wakfs (other than charities and charitable institutions and charitable and religious endowments) the rule of decision in cases where the parties are Muslims shall be the Muslim Personal Law”. But I advised that the apex court had arrived at its decision after due reference to the provisions of the Koran. The government must respect the supreme character of that court and even if the arguments of the clergy in the matter are well founded, it is for the court to judge on their application, not the government and not the clergy. I suggested that a reply go to each of the petitions advising that the petitioners seek a review by the Supreme Court. The most that the government might do in this regard is to agree not to contest the review.
Roots of government intervention
It seemed awhile that this advice had been accepted, although no response was received to my suggestion that the PMO politely decline the request to intervene. Then one day as I entered Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s chamber, I found M.J. Akbar sitting across his table. Rajiv smiled cheerily, “Come in, come in Wajahat, You are one of us.”
I found this greeting odd but was to discover the reason soon enough. Mr. Akbar had convinced Rajiv that if the government were not to contest the Shah Bano judgment, it would appear to the Muslim community that the Prime Minister did not regard them as his own. In what he perceived as the defence of their religious rights, Rajiv would show himself worthy of the support that the community had always placed in his family. This was the argument that Mr. Akbar developed in a Doordarshan debate with then-Minister Arif Mohammed Khan, in which Mr. Khan had argued that the Koranic provision or lack of it for maintenance was neither a compulsion nor closed to interpretation. But Mr. Akbar, more westernised, had argued that the Muslims needed the reassurance that only an amendment could bring.
A setback for Muslim women
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act was adopted in May 1986 and nullified the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Shah Bano case. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of this Act clarifies that when a Muslim divorced woman is unable to support herself after the iddat period that she must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man, the magistrate is empowered to make an order for the payment of maintenance by her relatives who would be entitled to inherit her property on her death according to Muslim law. But when a divorced woman has no such relatives, and does not have enough means to pay the maintenance, the magistrate would order the State Wakf Board to pay the maintenance. The ‘liability’ of the husband to pay maintenance was thus restricted to the period of the iddat only.
The consequences of this Act are open to debate. Yet the message that it brings home is that the application of the usual law, as enunciated by the Supreme Court, would have been of greater benefit and extended to the Muslim woman the rights granted to other Indians. Worse, the Act generated a conflict of interest between the two principal religious communities of India, fostering hostility against each other and the government.
In today’s vitiated communal environment it would be best if the apex court were to take on the responsibility of interpreting the law in light of the widely excoriated practice of triple talaq, which in the view of many practising Muslims is not the law.
Wajahat Habibullah, a retired civil servant, has served as Chief Information Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities.
July 16, 2016 01:38 IST
Why not a Common Civil Code for all?
M. Venkaiah Naidu
A set of laws to govern personal matters of all citizens irrespective of religion is the cornerstone of true secularism. It would help end gender discrimination on religious grounds and strengthen the secular fabric
The recent progressive decisions of the Shani Shingnapur and Trimbakeshwar temple trusts to allow entry of women in the wake of a series of protests constitute a welcome development in what has been a long march towards gender equality. They also served to rekindle a countrywide debate on ending widespread gender discrimination, especially on religious grounds. It is a matter of concern that close to seven decades after Independence, women continue to battle discrimination in matters of religion even as they march shoulder-to-shoulder with men in various fields.
Perhaps, the time has come for us to take a close, hard look at the Goa Family Law and see if it could be emulated in the rest of the country. The Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 was continued in Goa after its liberation, and it should be the model for other States. The progressive law provides for equal division of income and property regardless of gender between husband and wife and also between children. It is also applicable in the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
Importance of a Common Code
A Common Civil Code that would put in place a set of laws to govern personal matters of all citizens irrespective of religion is perhaps the need of the hour. It is, in fact, the cornerstone of true secularism. Such a progressive reform would not only help end discrimination against women on religious grounds but also strengthen the secular fabric of the country and promote unity. However, it can be implemented only when there is wide acceptance from all religious communities after discussing all the pros and cons as no decision, however reformatory, could be thrust on the people without their acceptance. All misgivings would have to be squarely addressed for progress to be achieved on this count.
In fact, Article 44 of the Constitution declares that the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India. During the debate in the Constituent Assembly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, while supporting the need to frame a Uniform Civil Code, expressed the hope that its application might be purely voluntary. He also said: “I personally do not understand why religion should be given this vast, expansive jurisdiction so as to cover the whole of life and to prevent the legislature from encroaching upon that field. After all, what are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is full of inequities, discriminations and other things which conflict with our fundamental rights.” Babasaheb’s pragmatic words are of great relevance to the Indian social context today.
While there is a criminal code which is applicable to all people irrespective of religion, caste, tribe and domicile in the country, there is no similar code when dealing with respect to divorce and succession which are governed by Personal Laws. The Uniform Civil Code seeks to administer the same set of secular civil laws to govern all people.
Repeated judicial reminders
In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Shah Bano, who had moved the apex court seeking maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after her husband divorced her. The then Chief Justice, Y.V. Chandrachud, observed that a Common Civil Code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law. The Court directed Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code.
In the Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India (1995) case, the Supreme Court had observed: “Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, while defending the introduction of the Hindu Code Bill instead of a uniform civil code, in the Parliament in 1954, said, ‘I do not think that at the present moment the time is ripe in India for me to try to push it through’. It appears that even 41 years thereafter, the Rulers of the day are not in a mood to retrieve Article 44 from the cold storage where it is lying since 1949. The reasons are too obvious to be stated. The utmost that has been done is to codify the Hindu law in the form of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, which have replaced the traditional Hindu law based on different schools of thought and scriptural laws into one unified code. When more than 80 per cent of the citizens have already been brought under the codified personal law, there is no justification whatsoever to keep in abeyance, any more, the introduction of Uniform Civil Code for all citizens.”
In the John Vallamattom v. Union of India case in 2003, Chief Justice V.N. Khare had observed: “It is a matter of regret that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in for framing a common civil code in the country.”
In fact, the Supreme Court in October 2015 said there was total confusion due to various Personal Laws and sought to know if the government was willing to implement a Uniform Civil Code. It observed: “What happened to it? Why don’t you (the government) frame and implement it?” However, the apex court later declined to direct Parliament to bring in a Uniform Civil Code while allowing a PIL filed in this regard to be withdrawn.
A secular project at heart
Several eminent people, representing diverse fields, have put forth different arguments against the introduction of a Common Civil Code. The most common refrain has been that even the British did not try to codify Personal Laws based on religion and any attempt to bring in a common codification of laws would be tantamount to the state’s interference in religious affairs, particularly of the minorities. Nothing can be farther from truth. It would be apt to remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who once said: “We should get out of the miasma of religious majorities and minorities.” That, in reality, would be the precise endeavour of such a unified code. If one were to be wedded to rigid and bigoted views, why should there be any statutes and changes in them in sync with the times? As a society evolves, it enacts laws which protect and safeguard the rights and interests of all its citizens.
Contrary to a sustained campaign of misinformation, the whole concept of a Common Civil Code is not aimed against any particular religion or its customs, but to prevent oppression in the name of religion. It would naturally be based on internationally accepted principles of jurisprudence and would go a long way in providing a sense of security to people of various religious denominations.
Noorjehan Safia Niaz and Zakia Soman, co-founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015, observed: “From the Shah Bano case in 1985 till date, Muslim women have never been heard in matters concerning their lives thanks to the politics in our country. Certain orthodox and patriarchal males have… stonewalled any attempt towards reform in Muslim personal law. In the process, Muslim women have been denied their Quranic rights as well as their rights as equal Indian citizens. Almost all Muslim countries the world over, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and even Bangladesh and Pakistan in our neighbourhood, have codified personal laws governing marriage and family matters… Indian Muslims are denied this opportunity. As a result, we see instances of triple talaq and polygamy in our society.” They further stated that they had just published national research findings “with a primary sample of 4710 Muslim women across 10 states. An overwhelming 92.1% women want a total ban on oral/unilateral divorce and 91.7% are opposed to polygamy. 83.3% women said that codification of Muslim family law will help Muslim women get justice”.
It was also mentioned that BMMA had prepared a draft Muslim Family Law based on Koranic tenets concerning the age of marriage, mehr, talaq, polygamy, maintenance, custody of children etc. The important provisions of this draft law include a minimum marriage age of 18 for girls and 21 for boys and that the consent of both parties must be obtained without force or fraud, minimum mehr to be equivalent of one full annual income of the groom to be paid at the time of nikah. Further, it said that Talaq-e-Ahsan should be adopted as the method of divorce requiring mandatory arbitration over a 90-day period, oral unilateral divorce to be declared illegal, polygamy to be declared illegal, daughters to get equal share as sons through hiba or gift deed or will, compulsory registration of marriages, and the qazi to be held accountable for violations during talaq, polygamy and other such matters.
From Shah Bano to Shayara Bano, who recently filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, the focus has been on gender-friendly reforms of Personal Laws. With changing times, the need has arisen for having a Common Civil Code for all citizens, irrespective of religion, ensuring that their fundamental and constitutional rights are protected. Nobody need have qualms on this count. While emphasising that the foundations of secularism would only get further strengthened by introducing a Common Civil Code, I would like to recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “I do not expect India of my dreams to develop one religion, i.e., to be wholly Hindu or wholly Christian or wholly Mussalman, but I want it to be wholly tolerant, with its religions working side-by-side with one another.”
With the government seeking the opinion of the Law Commission to examine all aspects pertaining to Uniform Civil Code, the time has come for an enlightened debate in the country to arrive at a consensus at the earliest.
M. Venkaiah Naidu is Minister for Urban Development & Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
STATEMENT ON TRIPLE TALAQ AND UCC
RELEASE ON OCTOBER 20, 2016 BY MUSLIMS AND PEOPLE OF MUSLIM DESCENT
We, ordinary citizens, artists, intellectuals, writers, poets from the Muslim community, want to emphasis that the Muslim community in India is diverse, plural and heterogeneous. No single organization or group of people/organisations can claim to speak on behalf of the whole community. Muslims and people of Muslim descent living in India follow different customs and celebrate a large number of festivals some common to all and some different from each other depending on the local cultural practices of the region where they reside. They speak different languages and engage at multiple levels of the thought process.
We the undersigned Muslims and people of Muslim descent want to unequivocally state the following:
1. We are against the instant arbitrary triple talaq as practiced in India and we support the demand of the Muslim women to abolish it.
2. The present regime and their earlier avatars have used Uniform Civil Code as a stick to frighten and demonize the Muslim community and polarize opinion by projecting that the Muslims of this country are backward, anti-women and not open to any progressive laws. Uniform Civil Code has been always been projected by such regimes and right wing politics as a Hindu v/s Muslim tool. The fact of the matter is that many of the personal laws irrespective of which religion they belong to are archaic and anti-women.
3. We do not have any faith in the sudden found ‘love for women’ and ‘gender justice’ as articulated by Venkiah Naidu recently. Since the new regime has come to power we have seen heavy budget cuts on schemes for women, we have heard horrendous statements about women which have gone unopposed by the members of the regime, and we have witnessed growing violence against women as well as dilution of gender just laws such as the Domestic Violence Act (section 498A).
4. We do not believe that in a country with over 4500 communities and over 400 spoken languages uniformity or tweaking of present unequal laws can ensure equality for men and women.
5. We believe that social change is a slow process for which conditions on the ground need to be created where people have basic needs of housing, employment, food and good education. There is a need to first bring in progressive, gender just enabling laws which can be accessed by people from all religions. We have a Special Marriage Act under which people from any community or across religious communities and castes can marry each other. People have a choice to opt for Special Marriage act ( which is also being diluted by various right wing state governments by adding caveats to it) , similarly JJ Act has now provisions for people of any religion to adopt a child whether their personal laws allow it or not. More such laws which give equal rights to women in property and matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, custody of children etc should be brought in.
6. We also strongly disapprove of the highly objectionable affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board regarding the triple talaq matter.
7. We believe that to suppress the progressive demands for equality, led by various Muslim women’s organizations, the most conservative sections of the Muslim community are creating a Shah Bano campaign like situation so that they can keep the women subjugated and strengthen the patriarchal stronghold on the Muslim women.
8. We appeal to all liberal, progressive sections of the Muslims as well as all other citizens to support the struggle of the Muslim women for reform and to expose the nefarious designs of both the present regime as well as of the patriarchal conservative Muslims who are colliding with the retrogressive forces to take the attention away from the most important issues and the failures of the present government on all fronts.
Abadan Khan (Dr.), Academician
Abbas Shamael Rizvi, Filmmaker
Abdul Daiyan, Social Activist,Bihar
Abdul Hamid Paramanik, Social Activist
Abdul Mannan (Prof.), Academician, Assam
Abdul MuhibMazumder, Former Advocate General, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh
Abdul Salam (Prof.), President, Justice and Equity Demand Committee, Assam
Abdul Salam, Social Activist, Assam
Abdur Rahman Sikder, Lawyer, Gauhati High Court., Assam
Ahij Uddin Seikh (Dr.), Educationist, Assam
Ahmad Cameron (Dr.), Canada
Ahmar Raza, Scientist
Ali Javed (Prof.), Academician
Amir Rizvi, Communication Designer , Mumbai
Anowar Hussain, Social Activist, Assam
Areeb Rizvi, Researcher
Arshad Ajmal, Social Activist, Bihar
Asad Ashraf, Journalist
AsadHaider Zaidi, Co-Founder #ShoulderToShoulder Movement
Asma Faheem (Prof.), Academician
Ayesha Kidwai (Prof.), Academician
Bismillah Diwan, Social Activist
Dilawar Saiyad, Lawyer
Ehtasham Khan, Journalist
Farhin Mirja, Young Activist, , Gujarat
Farrukh S. Waris (Dr.), Academician, Mumbai
Farzana, Mahila Patch work Professional, Gujarat
Gauhar Raza, scientist, poet, filmmaker
Haji Altaf Hussain, Social Worker, Gujarat
HajraDarji, Social Activist, , Gujarat
Hanif Mastaque Ahmed (Prof.), Academician
Huma Nizami, Academician
Iftikhar Alarm, retired professor, Aligarh
Iqbal Ahmad, Journalist
Irfan Engineer, social activist, Mumbai
Jaffer Latief Najar, Researcher, Mumbai
Juned Khan, Educator & Social Activist
Kamrjahan Shekh, Social Activist, Gujarat
Kaneez Fatma, Academician
Karima Pathan, Social Activist, Kutch , Gujarat
Kashif Ahmed Faraz, Social Activist, Youth Awakening Movement
Kausarali Saiyad, Social Activist, Hamari Awaz Ahmedabad
Keramat Ali Seikh, Prominent Writer, Assam
Maimoona Mollah, Women Rights Activist
Mariam Fozia Rehman, Lawyer
Md Zakir Hussain, Journalist
Mehvash Haider, Medical Doctor
Mohammed Hisham, technologist
Mohd Altamash, Student Activist
Mohd Arshad, Media professional
Mohd Shahid (Prof.), Academician
Monis Shamsi, Educator, Social Entrepreneur & Activist
Naaz Raza, Social Activist
Nadeem Hasnain (Prof.), Academician
Nagma Shaikh, Women Rights Activist, Karnataka
Najema Shekh, Social Activist
Najma Rehmani, academician, Delhi
Nasiruddin, Journalist, Lucknow
Nasmeen Shekh, Social Activist
Naved Azam, Lawyer
Nizamuddin Khan, Social Activist
Noorjahan Diwan, Women Rights Activist , Gujarat
Noorjanah Ansari, Women Rights Activist, Niswa, Ahmedabad
Nusrat, Social Worker
Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Activist
Parvin Shekh, Social Activist, Banaskantha
Qamar Fatima, Social Worker
Rashida Ansari, Social Activist Janvikas Ahmedabad
Raza Haider, Social Activist
Rehana Pathan, Junagadha
Rehana Shekh, Dist. Surendrnagar
RejinaKhatun (Prof.), Women Rights Activist
RiyazParmar, Social Activist, Rajkot Collective
S. Irfan Habib (Prof.), Academician
S.Q. Masood, Social Activist, Hyderabad
Sadia Sohail, Development Professional
Sahba Farooqui, Women Rights Activist
Sahir Raza, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Sakil Shekh, Social Activist
Sania Hashmi, Filmmaker
Sarifa Chhipa, Social Activist
Sayed Shaad, Journalist
Seema Cheepa, Social Activist , Ahmedabad
Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist
Shahin Ansari, Ahmedabad
Shakil Kapa, Youth Activist
Shamsul Islam, Author & Dramatist.
Shareef Mohammad Khilji, Engineer
Sheba Geroge, Social Activist
Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, Islamic Feminist & Writer
Shehla Hashmi, Potter, theatre
Shehnaz Rathod, Social Activist,
Sohail Hashmi, Journalist & Filmmaker
Sultan Ali Ahmed (Dr.), Educationist
Syed Tanveer Nasreen (Prof), Academician, Kolkata
Uzma Mollah, Mediaperson
Vahida Nainar, Women Rights Activist, Mumbai
Yasmin Qureshi, Himatnagar
Yaquta Contracor, Prof Executive
Zamser Ali, President, BTAD Citizen Rights Forum, Assam
Zulaikha Jabin, Social