New Delhi, February 14th
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has brought before the Supreme Court against a plea that seeks to establish “gender and religiously neutral” uniform grounds for the granting of alimony in marital disputes in accordance with international conventions and constitutions.
The board has opposed the plea filed by attorney and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who also seeks instructions from the government to take appropriate steps to remedy the prevailing anomalies regarding alimony and make them non-discriminatory for all citizens to make uniform.
“The applicant wishes to argue that the term and” custom and usage “in Article 13 of the Constitution does not imply belief in any religious denomination embedded in personal laws,” said the plea of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB ).
“The Constituent Assembly was aware of the distinction between ‘personal right’ and ‘custom and use’ and made a careful decision to exclude personal right and include custom and use in Article 13 of the Constitution,” she said as she added in the petition requested by Upadhyay.
The AIMPLB denied Upadhyay’s objection on the grounds that personal laws could not be examined on the anvil of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 44 of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court informed the Center of Upadhyay’s plea on December 16 last year.
Upadhyay’s petition, filed by attorney Ashwani Kumar Dubey, states that, despite the eloquent provisions in the constitution, the central government has not created any gender-neutral, religion-neutral uniform maintenance and support grounds for all citizens.
Alimony and support are the only source of livelihood, so discrimination based on religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth is a direct attack on the right to life, liberty and dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
“Even after 73 years of independence and 70 years of India as a socialist secular democratic republic, laws on maintenance and support are not only complex and cumbersome, but also against the constitutional mandate to be equal, rational and fair,” the plea said .
Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains are subject to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act of 1956. Muslims are treated under the status of a valid marriage and marriage agreement and are subject to the Muslim Women Act of 1986. Christians are subject to the Indian divorce law of 1869 and Parsis under the Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act of 1936, but none of these laws are gender neutral, ”it says.
The PIL stated that discriminatory maintenance and support reinforce patriarchal and stereotypical ideas about women and therefore any provision that commits or reinforces discriminatory stereotypes against women is manifestly arbitrary.
The plea sought instructions to explain that the discriminatory maintenance grounds violated Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution.
She has also asked the Legal Commission for instructions to examine national and international law and to prepare a report on “uniform maintenance reasons” within three months. – PTI