The Supreme Court has sought the Centre’s response on petitions asking directions for “uniform grounds of divorce” for all citizens in the spirit of the Indian Constitution.
The bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna issued notices to the Union ministry of home affairs, the ministry of law and justice and the ministry of women and child development in this matter.
The two separate PILs filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay stated women across all religions ought to be treated equally and if some religious practices deny them their fundamental rights, such practices should not be protected.
The twin pleas argued by senior advocates Pinky Anand and Meenakshi Arora stated: “The ongoing distinction is based on a patriarchal mindset and stereotypes and has no scientific backing, perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women and goes against the global trends.”
The petition further said many other grounds of divorce are neither gender neutral nor religion neutral, though equity, equality and equal opportunity are the hallmarks of a socialist, secular, democratic republic like India.
Currently, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists have to seek divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, while Muslims, Parsis and Christians have their own personal religious laws.
Couples from different religions can apply for divorce under the Special Marriage Act, 1956. Furthermore, if either partner is not an Indian national, then he/she has to seek divorce under the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969.