Mixed response to Kerala’s law reforms commission’s suggestions

January 7th, 2009 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi (Kerala) Jan 7 (IANS) There has been a mixed response in Kerala to the suggestions made by the law reforms commission, which will submit its report later this month. Among other reforms, the commission has asked for a change in the marriage customs practiced by the Muslim community and appointment of non-Brahmins as temple priests. “The final decision would be taken by the government after going through it (the report),” Law Minister M. Vijayakumar said while speaking to reporters here Wednesday.

The commission is headed by former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer who was law minister in the first Kerala cabinet headed by E.M.S Nampoothiripad in 1957.

“I will be heading a committee which will see if the reforms are put into practice once the state government clears it. This committee will come into effect from Feb 1,” Iyer told reporters here.

Among the proposed reforms, the commission talks about the practice of Muslim men marrying more than once. According to the proposed reforms, this is not acceptable and it would be allowed only in extraordinary circumstances and that too only with the permission of the first wife.

With regards to the practices in the Christian community, the commission has suggested that the entire property of churches should be transferred to a trust.

The report also suggests that privileges given by the state government for those who have more than two children should be cut.

Another suggestion that has been made is that henceforth those who call for a shutdown will have to give a week’s notice and any damage arising from the shutdown would be recovered from those who have called for it.

Muslim cleric and leader Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musaliyar said that they would object to any reforms that go against their religious beliefs.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Stephen Alathara, spokesperson of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference who said for the Christians “it is the canon law which matters and not laws framed here”.

But Velapaly Natesan, leader of the Ezhava Hindu Community welcomed the proposed reform of non-Brahmins being appointed as temple priests.

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