SC bats for single moms, uniform civil code, says keep religion away from law

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SC noted that the Christian unwed mother is at a disadvantage in comparison to an unwed mother belonging to other communities where the mother is considered the natural guardian.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said religion must be kept at a distance from law in a secular country like India and favoured implementation of Uniform Civil Code as enshrined in the Constitution.

The SC refused to consider tenets of Christian religion while favourably deciding the rights of an unwed Christian mother who had challenged a Delhi high court order, directing her to reveal the name of the child’s father when she sought guardianship.

IndiaCSR Awards Logo (2)The court, however, noted that the Christian unwed mother is at a disadvantage in comparison to an unwed mother belonging to other communities where the mother is considered the natural guardian.

“India is a secular nation and it is a cardinal necessity that religion be distanced from law. Therefore, the task before us is to interpret the law of the land, not in light of the tenets of the parties’ religion but in keeping with legislative intent and prevailing case law,” Justice Vikramajit Sen said.

“Christian unwed mothers in India are disadvantaged when compared to their Hindu counterparts, who are the natural guardians of their illegitimate children by virtue of their maternity alone, without the requirement of any notice to the putative fathers. It would be apposite for us to underscore that our Directive Principles envision the existence of a uniform civil code, but this remains an unaddressed constitutional expectation,” he said.

In Sarla Mudgal case in 1995, the SC had said, “Where more than 80% of citizens have already been brought under codified personal law, there is no justification whatsoever to keep in abeyance, any more, the introduction of uniform civil code for all citizens in India.” Yet again in 2003, in John Vallamattom case, the SC had highlighted the desirability of achieving the goal set by Article 44 of the Constitution.

(7 July 2015, Times of India)

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