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PIL on uniform marriage laws for all communities dismissed

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL filed by an advocate seeking to direct the state to make uniform marriage laws for all communities in India including Muslims.

A bench comprising Mrs. Justice Ruma Pal and Mr. Justice Markandey Katju dismissing the petition told the petitioner Ms. Lily Thomas to approach the government as it was for Parliament to make laws.

Justice Katju remarked, ''Go to Parliament. A Muslim may have four wives-it is for the Parliament to change or amend the law and judges must exercise judicial restraint.'' The petitioner, a woman advocate, has sought to challenge the legality of the customs of polygamy (having more than one wife or husband) and polygyny (having more than one wife).

Lily Thomas, appearing in person, pleaded that Polygyny and Talaq practised by muslim community are irrational and encroach upon the fundamental rights of muslim women and are against the secular fabric of the country.

The petitioner had prayed for striking down of relevant provisions of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1957 which give legal sanctity to these customs.

It was also contended that personal laws for different communities based on religion militated against secularism and national integration and made it difficult for the government and the courts to administer law uniformly. The main challenge was to section 2 of Shariat Act 1937, which according to the petitioner permits polygamous marriage and that Talaq (divorce) is whimsical exercise of husband domination that totally unsettles wife and family.

The petitioner also sought declaration from the apex court making it mandatory that muslim marriage shall also be governed by the principle of monogamy and customary marriage should be made compulsorily registerable under section 15 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The provisions of matrimonial relief under the Special Marriage Act should govern the muslim community also.

UNI AKS/SC RP BD1900

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