Muslim scholars question validity of PIL on women's rights

Muslim scholars question validity of PIL on women's rights
The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, an organisation of Muslim scholars, on Friday questioned before the Supreme Court legal validity of a suo motu PIL relating to alleged gender bias faced by women under Islam.

It contended the practices of marriage, divorce and maintenance in Muslim personal law cannot be tested on the ground of violation of fundamental rights.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur allowed the plea made by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi for impleadment of the organisation in the pending PIL. The court asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to file their replies in the petition within six weeks. A separate bench of Justices A R Dave and Adarsh K Goel had last year ordered registration of a PIL and asked the Chief Justice to set up a special bench to deal with issues relating to the challenge to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.

Hearing a different case, the court had noted Muslim women faced discrimination in the form of arbitrary divorce and second marriage.

In its plea, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind contended that the personal laws do not derive their validity on the ground that they have been passed or made by a Legislature or other competent authority.

“The Mohammedan Law is founded essentially on the Holy Koran and thus it cannot fall within the purview of the expression ‘laws in force’ as mentioned in Article 13 of the Constitution, and hence its validity cannot be tested on a challenge based on Part III of the Constitution,” the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind stated.
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