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Uniform Grounds For Divorce, Alimony : Supreme Court Seeks Centre's Response

Rintu Mariam Biju
5 Sep 2022 1:18 PM GMT
Uniform Grounds For Divorce, Alimony : Supreme Court Seeks Centres Response
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The Supreme Court of India on Monday asked the Union government to file a comprehensive report regarding its stand in a batch of Public Interest Litigations seeking uniformity in the personal laws regulating marriage divorce, maintenance and alimony for Indian citizens. A Bench of Chief Justice of Indian UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat asked the petitioners to give details about...

The Supreme Court of India on Monday asked the Union government to file a comprehensive report regarding its stand in a batch of Public Interest Litigations seeking uniformity in the personal laws regulating marriage divorce, maintenance and alimony for Indian citizens.

A Bench of Chief Justice of Indian UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat asked the petitioners to give details about identical petitions as well so that they can be taken up for consideration together.

The petitions also seek to have uniform adoption and guardianship, uniform succession and inheritance and uniform age of marriage.

During the hearing, the Bench observed whether a mandamus can be issued to the Legislature regarding making a law.
The bench was hearing a batch of six PILs  - four PILs filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, one petiiton filed by Lubna Qureshi and another petition filed by Doris Martin.  
When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre requested time to file its response, a counsel appearing for an intervenor apprised the Bench that Ashwini Upadhyay, one of the petitioners had filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking similar reliefs in 2019.
"It's a rather disturbing aspect…. It (the plea) was dismissed as withdrawn. This aspect is not mentioned in petition", he informed.
Since the petitioner is an advocate, the intervenor urged the court to ask him to produce a memo on the contents of the previous petition.
But Upadhyay didn't concede to the allegation made.
"This is petition is totally different. Earlier, I had filed a petition seeking Uniform Civil Code. After withdrawing it, I forwarded a representation to the Government and it was forwarded to the Law Commission. That's a different issue. This petition is seeking uniform grounds for divorce, maintenance, alimony etc.", he clarified. Hearing this, the Court said that he must be fair to the Court in his conduct.
"UCC may have half a dozen matters, matrimonial issues maybe one of them. Mr. Upadhayay, what is more important is, you must be fair to the Court. So, whatever was there in your petition, please check that and file it."
During a previous hearing in 2020, Senior Advocate Pinky Anand appearing for the petitioner Upadhyay had prayed that these personal laws and religious practices pertaining to divorce and alimony are discriminatory under Art. 14, 15 and 44 of Indian Constitution as well as other rights conferred under International Instruments.The petitions largely seek the following reliefs:
-To direct Union Home and Law Ministry to take appropriate steps to remove the prevailing anomalies in the grounds of maintenance and alimony in order to make them uniform for all citizens without discrimination on the basis of religion race cast sex or place of birth in spirit of the Articles 14, 15, 21, 44 and International Conventions.
- alternatively, being custodian of the Constitution and protector of the fundamental rights, declare that the discriminatory grounds of maintenance and alimony are violative of Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution and frame gender neutral religion neutral uniform guidelines for maintenance and alimony for all Indian citizens;
-alternatively, direct the Law Commission of India to examine the domestic and international laws and prepare a report on 'uniform grounds of maintenance and alimony' within 3 months in spirit of the Articles 14, 15, 21 & 44 and international conventions;
-Constitution seeking 'Uniform Grounds of Divorce' for all citizens throughout the territory of India in spirit of Articles 14, 15, 21, 44 of the Constitution and International Conventions.
The matter will come up for hearing after three weeks.
Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay versus Union of India, WP(c) 869/2020, WP(c) 1144/2020, WP(c) 1000/2020, WP(c) 1108/2020, Lubna Qureshi versus Union of Inia WP(c) 707/2021, Doris Martin v. UoI WP(C) No. 474/2021
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