‘It’s in Parliament’s Domain’, SC on Plea for Uniform Law on Inheritance, Maintenance, Divorce

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NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday orally observed that formulating uniform laws on maintenance, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship falls under the domain of the Parliament.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, one of the petitioners, “This falls in the legislative domain. Mr Upadhyay… it is for legislative intervention and it is for the Parliament to do…”

The bench, also comprising justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, added, “How can we say Parliament shall pass such laws.”

The top court was hearing petitions filed by Upadhyay and others in connection with uniform religion and gender-neutral laws on a range of issues: Maintenance, divorce, inheritance, and guardianship, among others.

Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing a Muslim woman, opposed the plea by saying that Upadhyay did not disclose that he had filed a similar petition earlier and subsequently withdrew it.

Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the Centre, opposed the plea, saying that it is a matter of legislative policy.

Upadhyay submitted that he is not seeking such a direction, but instead wants the court to ask the Law Commission to examine the matter.

The bench queried, “Our direction to the Law Commission has to be in aid of something. Aid of Parliament since there is parliamentary sovereignty…”

It further queried, “Can the court direct the Parliament to enact a law?”

Upadhyay argued that it is a matter of gender justice. However, the bench told Upadhyay to address the arguments on the issue of maintainability of the petition.

Upadhyay has filed five separate petitions seeking direction to the Central government to frame religion and gender-neutral uniform laws for adoption, divorce, succession, guardianship, inheritance, maintenance, marriage age, and alimony. — IANS

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