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'Religious Activities & Worship Places Will Not Be Affected': Another Plea In Delhi High Court Seeks Uniform Civil Code

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
28 Sep 2021 11:43 AM GMT
Religious Activities & Worship Places Will Not Be Affected: Another Plea In Delhi High Court Seeks Uniform Civil Code
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Another writ petition has been filed before the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Government of India to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), in spirit of Article 44 of the Constitution.Article 44 of the Constitution provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.In the alternative, the plea seeks a...

Another writ petition has been filed before the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Government of India to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), in spirit of Article 44 of the Constitution.

Article 44 of the Constitution provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

In the alternative, the plea seeks a direction to the Law Commission to draft a UCC by including (i) uniform minimum age of marriage (ii) uniform grounds of divorce (iii) uniform maintenance & alimony (iv) uniform adoption & guardianship and (v) uniform succession and inheritance.

The plea filed by one Danish Eqbal, claiming to be a social activist, states that the above pointers are secular activities. Thus, the reliefs sought in the plea will not in any manner affect the religious activities like Puja, Namaz, Prayer, fasting, maintenance of Temple, Mosque, Church and Gurudwara and Marriage, Nikah and death ceremonies covered under Article 25 of the Constitution.

Instead, the plea highlights that UCC will:

  • end the communal dislikes and strengthen tolerance across the nation;
  • weed out confusion on account of multiple personal laws and save precious judicial time. "Judicial proceedings would be guided by one civil law to decide the cases relating to minimum age of marriage, grounds of divorce, maintenance and alimony, succession and inheritance, adoption and guardianship" states the plea;
  • Confer property rights on both son and daughter in law, without gender discrimination.

The plea was mentioned today before a Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, by the Petitioner appearing in person. He stated that being a Muslim, his sister would be most benefitted with the framing of UCC under Article 44.

Significantly, the plea highlights certain stipulations under the Muslim personal law, that put women at a disadvantageous position. It mentions:

  • Muslim parents can marry off their teenage daughters because the minimum age of marriage is not defined puberty;
  • Although Instant Triple Talaq is now void and unconstitutional but other forms of oral talaq viz. Talaq-e-Hasan and Talaq-e-Ahasan still prevails. Therefore, women are always under pressure and fear;
  • In Muslim Personal Law, succession through 'Will' is allowed to the extent of one-third (1/3) of the property, which is irrational and arbitrary;
  • In all personal laws, stridhan is protected and given to wife after divorce but in Muslim Personal law, there is no concept of stridhan and also whatever articles she bring with her during marriage, is enjoyed by the husband after divorce;
  • Muslim women cannot adopt a child and does not have right to guardianship.

The development comes soon after Justice Pratibha M Singh of the Delhi High Court expressed the need for a uniform civil code while noting that the traditional barriers in the country are slowly disappearing.

"Indian Society Becoming Homogenous, Traditional Barriers Of Religion Slowly Dissipating": Delhi High Court Bats For Uniform Civil Code

Earlier, BJP leader and Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay had approached the High Court seeking Uniform Civil Code in spirit of Article 44 of the Constitution, while considering the best practices of all religions and sects, Civil Laws of developed countries and international conventions.

The High Court had issued notice on his plea in May 2019 and had directed the Central Government to file its affidavit in the matter.

However, the matter came to a standstill following the filing of a petition before the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the above petition, in order to secure gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women in spirit of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 44 of the Constitution and International Conventions.

Meanwhile, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the Government is not inclined to implement UCC in a rigid time frame, given the "importance" of the subject matter and "sensitivity" involved.

In 2019, the Supreme Court had observed that no attempt has been made yet by the Government to frame a Uniform Civil Code, despite exhortations by it.

"It is interesting to note that whereas the founders of the Constitution in Article 44 in Part IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy had hoped and expected that the State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territories of India, till date no action has been taken in this regard. Though Hindu laws were codified in the year 1956, there has been no attempt to frame a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all citizens of the country despite exhortations of this Court in the case of Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano and Sarla Mudgal & Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors.", the court had observed.

Case Title: Danish Eqbal v. Union of India

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