New Delhi: In a landmark move, the Supreme Court of India has ordered registration of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to examine Muslim Personal Law to consider doing away with provisions biased against Muslim women, often victims of polygamy and the triple talaq system.
Issuing notices to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and National Legal Services Authority of India, Justices Anil R. Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel sought their reply by November 23 on a question as to if “gender discrimination” suffered by Muslim women should not be considered a violation of the fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and international covenants.
The verdict, dated October 16, refers to dozens of its own judgments since the 1990s in order to record the Supreme Court’s growing realisation that gender discrimination is a violation of the constitutional rights of women.
Writing the judgment, Justice Goel said the decision to “consider” the rights of Muslim women came up during discussions with lawyers on gender discrimination at the hearing of a batch of civil appeals on the issue of a daughter’s right to equal shares in ancestral property under the Hindu succession law.
The SC move comes 30 years after the Supreme Court urged the government to frame a uniform civil code to “help in the cause of national integration” in the Shah Bano case, and two years after Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman Committee in its report submitted to the Govt of Maharashtra recommended to impose a ban on existing divorce system in the Muslim society.
The committee in its report had observed that the arbitrary divorce system prevalent in the Muslim society is one of the causes of the backwardness of Muslim women.
Following its submission to the government, the women groups working for the Muslim women victims of triple talaq system, had demanded from the state to implement the recommendations of the Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman Committee.
Few months ago, an organisation on the basis of the survey it had conducted claimed that more than 92% of Muslim women are against the existing divorce rules practiced in India.
The organisation also claimed that more than 50 Muslim countries are against triple talaq system which is followed in India.