Two Supreme Court judges have appealed to the Chief Justice of India to set up an appropriate Bench that will look into the rights of Muslim women by bringing the Islamic personal law in conformity with the Constitution of India.
A Bench of justices AR Dave and AK Goel have told CJI HL Dattu that an appropriate bench is required to examine the gender discrimination in Islamic law and lack of safeguards for Muslim women, particularly divorced.
"There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her (a Muslim woman's) husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in a denial of dignity and security to her," the bench said, according to Hindustan Times report.
"Laws dealing with marriage and succession are not part of religion. Law has to change with time," they added.
The Muslim personal law allows polygamy and the triple talaq system that goes against Muslim women's rights. They also lag behind when it comes to inheriting property.
Taking note of several judgements of the apex court on gender discrimination in Muslim personal law, the two judges sent notices to the attorney general and the National Legal Services Authority, giving until 23 November to respond.
Refering to one of the SC's verdict from 2013, the bench said, "The practice of polygamy is injurious to public morals and can be superseded by the State just as practice of sati".
The top court's move has got the backing of Islamic scholar and former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Tahir Mahmood, who said that the Muslims women are being discriminated under the Islamic law.
"There is a misconception that Muslim personal law is covered by the right to religious freedom under the Constitution. Personal laws are within the legislative competence of the state. There is no doubt in practice Muslim women are discriminated against. The legislature has done nothing to end it. The SC must take cognizance of such discrimination and do something for them," he said.
The SC has also sought the examination of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, that was passed when the Rajiv Gandhi-led UPA government was in power.