The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed “great caution” but agreed to consider a motion to establish uniform guidelines on divorce, alimony and alimony for all religions.
The petitioner, attorney AK Upadhyay, argued that divorce, alimony and alimony laws in certain religions discriminated against and marginalized women. These anomalies, which vary from religion to religion, violated the right to equality (Article 14 of the Constitution) and the right to discrimination (Article 15) based on religion and sex, as well as the right to dignity. Mr Upadhyay wants laws on divorce, alimony and alimony to be “gender neutral and religion neutral”.
However, a three-person jury headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde asked Mr. Upadhyay if he really wanted the “destruction of personal laws” himself.
“You want all personal protection laws to be repealed?” Chief Justice Bobde asked lead counsel Pinky Anand, who advocated uniform grounds for divorce.
Ms Anand said the petitioner was only asking for the anomalies in the different divorce laws in the country to be corrected.
“But you can’t do it without abolishing the law of persons… You’re actually asking the court to abolish the law of persons,” the CJI noted.
Uniform Civil Code
“Personal laws are not protected by Article 13,” argued Ms. Anand. She then referred to the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
Chief Justice Bobde said: “That [UCC] it’s up to the government… The government can do anything. The government has the pulse of the people, or at least it should be… How can we as a court destroy the law of the person? Can we end discriminatory practices without destroying the law of the person?”.
The articles in question provided for violations by the state of the fundamental rights of citizens. On the other hand, these “discriminatory” personal legal practices were imposed by citizens of a particular faith on the women of their own community. “Articles 14 and 15, etc., act as an injunction against the state,” the CJI noted.
Lead attorney Meenakshi Arora, also for Mr Upadhyay, said it was the state’s responsibility to intervene when personal legal practices led to exclusion and discrimination. “The state has to ensure that religions are practiced in accordance with the constitution. The state should intervene when religious practices directly violate fundamental rights,” she demanded.
Mr Upadhyay’s petition reads: “Even after 73 years of independence and 70 years of India’s transformation into a socialist secular democratic republic, the alimony and alimony laws are not only complex and cumbersome, they also violate the constitutional mandate to be equal, reasonable and just.” “.
He pointed out the various laws that regulate the customs of marriage, divorce and alimony in all religions.
“Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act 1956. Muslims are treated under the status of valid marriage and prenuptial agreement and are governed by the Muslim Women Act 1986. Christians are governed by the law the Indian Divorce Act 1869 and Parsis under the Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act 1936, but neither of these laws is gender neutral,” the petition reads.