Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shazia Ilmi on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to formulate a standardised uniform common code (UCC) for grant of alimony and maintenance to obviate hindrances caused by diverse set of personal laws prescribed by different religions.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and J K Maheshwari tagged the petition with a pending plea seeking a "gender and religion-neutral" mechanism for grant of maintenance and alimony to all citizens in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and international conventions.
Ilmi has sought issuance of appropriate guidelines for streamlining the existing restrictions, conditions and discrepancies in personal laws (codified and un-codified) for granting fair and reasonable claim of maintenance and alimony without excluding any vulnerable claimant.
The plea, filed through advocate Sneha Kalita, also sought a direction to the Law Commission to examine the "discrepancies" in the existing personal laws and submit a report for forming a uniform code on maintenance and alimony.
Ilmi said in her petition since there are many sets of personal law (both codified and uncodified) in Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi communities, the grounds for maintenance also vary.
She contended the aggrieved vulnerable groups are often deprived of their entitlement to legitimate and fair claim of maintenance because of "discrepancies" in the personal laws which resulted in violation of human rights and provisions of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution, besides International Conventions to which India is a signatory.
Articles 14, 15 and 21 relate to equality before law; prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth; and the right to protection of life and personal liberty.
On September 5, the apex court had sought a ”comprehensive response” within three weeks from the Centre on a batch of petitions seeking direction to the government to frame religion and gender-neutral uniform laws for divorce, adoption, guardianship, succession, inheritance, maintenance, marriage age, and alimony.
Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay has filed five separate petitions seeking direction to the Centre on these issues.
The top court had 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”.
Upadhyay, in August 2020, filed the PIL seeking "uniform grounds of divorce" for all citizens, in 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 in consonance with the spirit of the Constitution and international conventions.
In another PIL, he sought removal of anomalies with regard to adoption and guardianship and sought making them uniform for all citizens.
He also filed a petition seeking removal of anomalies in succession and inheritance laws and making them uniform for all citizens.