Above the Fold: Top stories of the day
1. A day after Prime Minister Modi bought up the issue of Muslim reservation, the Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah claimed that if the party lost in Bihar, there would be celebrations in Pakistan.
2. Amidst growing social intolerance, scientists also pick on the Modi government’s promotion of scientific irrationality.
3. Fire that killed Dalit kids started in room, not outside, say forensics experts.

The Big Story: Reform-reform-reform
The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan will conduct public hearings in Delhi for the ban on triple talaq. The hearings will record the testimonies of Muslim women describing their suffering under regressive personal laws. Simultaneously, the Supreme Court has also announced that it will examine the validity of Muslim personal law in India which discriminate against women.

The court took suo motu cognisance of the discrimination faced by women under Muslim Personal Law and asked the Chief Justice of India to constitute an appropriate bench to look into the issue of gender discrimination under Muslim Personal Law. 

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan cited example of Muslim countries such as Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and even Pakistan which have reformed their laws and a similar process is possible in India. In Pakistan and Bangladesh the Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 places restrictions on polygamy and immediate talaq. Tunisia’s family laws have abolished polygamy and established legal equality between men and women in the case of divorce. Morocco has imposed legal restrictions on polygamous marriages. Neighboring Algeria in its recent amendments to the Algerian Family Code has complicated polygamous marriage as it is subject to conditions. However, Indian Muslim personal law still permits it, reported the Times of India.

Starkly, this process is missing any political input whatsoever. Muslim law reform is a contentious political topic and even as parties such as the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party mouth platitudes, on the ground there has been no progress since Independence. In this way, the stagnation of Muslim personal law in India mirrors that of Hindu Personal Law in Pakistan and Bangaldesh. Without the sort of Nehruvian reform it underwent in India, Hindu law in these two countries is highly discriminatory towards women, permitting polygamy and favouring men in property inheritance, among other features. 

The Big Scroll: Scroll.in on the day's big story
Even as the law struggles to catch up, Muslim society seems to have initiated reform: incidence of polygamy was the lowest among Muslims. Experts on Muslim law agree on this as well: gender discrimination in the law must go. Also, this isn’t the first time the Indian system has stepped up to reform personal law.

An interview with Arif Mohammad Khan, a Congress minister who supported the Shah Bano judgement.

Politicking and policying
1. Even as the government ignored him, multiple African leaders went out of their way to praise Jawaharlal Nehru at the ongoing Indo-African summit in Delhi.
2. The Vijay Kelkar committee is set to propose a major overhaul of the existing public-private partnership framework with an aim to encouraging more private investment in infrastructure.
3. [Interview] Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismisses reports of the Bharatiya Janata Party losing Bihar.
4. Ram Vilas Paswan publicly expressed unhappiness with his alliance partner in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

1. We need to show we love India more than those who profess a monopoly on this love story, says noted film director Dibakar Banerjee in the Indian Express.
2. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s strong stance against personal freedom on the issue of beef has galavanised liberal Hindus into action, says Smita Gupta in the Hindu.
2. In the Telegraph, Malavika Karlekar writes about the Indian soldiers of World War I.