AIMPLB moves Supreme Court against plea for uniform divorce laws; claims matter of personal law cannot be tested on the anvil of Articles 14, 21

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has appealed to the Supreme Court and opposed the petition seeking uniform grounds for divorce in the country regardless of belief, personal laws, caste, creed, etc.
The Muslim rights body has argued that these personal laws cannot be examined on the anvil of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 44 of the Constitution and has sought impleadment in the petition filed by BJP spokesperson and advocate, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who seeks uniform grounds for divorce.

The application of impleadment states that “custom and usage” in Article 13 of the Constitution does not include faith of a religious denomination embedded in personal laws.

AIMPLB has also argued that the laws relating to marriage and divorce are not uniform amongst the Hindus themselves and the customs and practices have been protected by adding Section 29(2) in the Hindu Marriage Act.

A bench headed by the CJI in December 2020 had started the controversial debate over uniform grounds for divorce and maintenance across the country.

The bench had issued a notice on two separate petitions filed by a lawyer and BJP leader, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The petitions highlighted Article 44 of Constitution which is a directive principle urging the enforcement of a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens.
The petitions referred to existing discriminatory practices within the scope of personal laws that allegedly violate Article 14 and 21. The petitioner alleged that such practices place women at an inferior position to men.

The petitions prayed that regardless of religion or gender, grounds for divorce and maintenance for men and women should be the same. In its request, AIMPLB stated that the prayers by Upadhyay in the plea are formulated in such a way that it suggests that the Legislature is subordinate to the Union Judiciary rather than being equal pillars of the sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic Republic of India.

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