A Supreme Court bench has asked the Chief Justice of India to constitute an “appropriate bench” to examine the question as to whether Muslim women are facing gender discrimination in cases of divorce or due to other marriages of their husband.
A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and A K Goel ordered registration of a Public Interest Litigation and for putting it up before the new bench to deal with the issues related to the challenge to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.
It noted that the issue was not merely a policy matter but concerns the fundamental rights of the women guranteed under the Constitution.
The issue has cropped-up during the hearing of a matter related to Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act and the bench noted that “an important issue of gender discrimination which though not directly involved in this appeal, has been raised by some of the counsel for the parties which concerns rights to Muslim women. Discussions on gender discrimination led to this issue also.”
“It was pointed out that inspite of guarantee of the Constitution, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination. There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her,” it noted.
“For this purpose, a PIL be separately registered and put up before the appropriate Bench as per orders of the Chief Justice of India.
“Notice be issued to learned Attorney General and National Legal Services Authority, returnable on November 23, 2015. We give liberty to counsel already appearing in this matter to assist the Court on this aspect of the matter, if they wish to volunteer, for either view point,” the court said.