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Plea in SC against uniform civil law on divorce and alimony

Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Plea in SC against uniform civil law on divorce and alimony:


Context:

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the “blatant attempt” to take away the fundamental right of Muslim women to practise their religion, in the guise of providing a “uniform law” across all faiths.

What’s the issue?

The petitioner has asked the Supreme Court to hear her before deciding whether a uniform civil law for divorce, maintenance and alimony will leave Muslim women like her better-off.

  • Last December, the Supreme Court agreed to examine advocate A.K. Upadhyay’s plea for a single law covering divorce, maintenance and alimony for all religions.
  • Upadhyay had argued that laws governing them in certain religions discriminate and marginalise women.

Need for a uniform law:

Existing anomalies, varying from one religion to another, are violative of the right to equality (Article 14 of the Constitution) and right against discrimination (Article 15) on the basis of religion and gender and right to dignity.

  • Therefore, the laws on divorce, maintenance and alimony should be “gender-neutral and religion-neutral”.

Status of Personal Law in India:

Personal law subjects like marriage, divorce, inheritance come under Concurrent list.

  • Hindu personal laws have been by and large secularized and modernized by statutory enactments (The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955).
  • On the other hand, Muslim personal laws are still primarily unmodified and traditional in their content and approach (Eg: Shariat law of 1937).
  • Apart from it, Christians and Jews are also governed by different personal laws.

Article 142:

Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case.

Alimony:

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which applies to all communities lays down the provision for maintenance of wives, children, and parents if they do not earn enough and reasonable means to maintain themselves, or suffer from any physical or mental incapacity. Under this section, even a wife who has not divorced her husband has the right to get maintenance from her husband.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1.  1.What is Uniform Civil Code?
  2. 2.About Articles 13, 14 and 19.
  3. 3.Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  4. 4.Article 142 is related to?
  5. 5.7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for having uniform guidelines on divorce, maintenance and alimony for all religions.

Sources: the Hindu.