PILs in SC seeking uniform religion-neutral laws on marriage, divorce
Apex court seeks Centre's reply
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday sought a comprehensive response within three weeks from the Centre on a batch of petitions seeking a direction to the government to frame religion and gender-neutral uniform laws for divorce, adoption, guardianship, succession, inheritance, maintenance, marriage age, and alimony.
The top court said whether such a direction in the form of a writ of mandamus can be issued to the legislature for framing laws would be a basic question.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat also asked lawyer petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay to be fair to the court and provide the details of similar petitions filed by him on these issues.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for an intervenor, alleged that the PIL petitioner did not inform the court about filing a similar petition.
He alleged that a PIL seeking implementation of a uniform civil code (UCC) was filed by the same petitioner which was withdrawn later and then another petition seeking similar reliefs was filed.
Tushar Mehta, the learned Solicitor General, has been granted three weeks time for putting a comprehensive response indicating the stand of the Centre with respect to the issues raised in this batch of petitions, the bench said in its order.
Upadhyay has filed five separate petitions seeking direction to the Centre to frame laws to ensure religion and gender-neutral uniform laws for divorce, adoption, guardianship, succession, inheritance, maintenance, marriage age, and alimony.
What is your view on these matters, the bench asked the solicitor general.
This would essentially be a question of law. But, I will examine these petitions…Let me take the instruction, the law officer said.
Upadhyay, in August 2020, filed the PIL seeking “uniform grounds of divorce” for all citizens, keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and international conventions.
He had filed another PIL seeking “gender and religion-neutral” uniform grounds of maintenance and alimony for all citizens keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and international conventions.
In another PIL, he sought the removal of anomalies on the grounds of adoption and guardianship and making them uniform for all citizens.
Further, he also filed a petition seeking to remove anomalies in succession and inheritance laws and make them uniform for all citizens.