Monday July 23, 2018
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Supreme Court declines to hear PIL for Uniform Civil Code

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a public interest petition seeking direction to parliament for enacting a uniform civil code to end alleged discrimination being faced by Muslim women, telling the petitioner to approach parliament and not waste the court’s time.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice AK Sikri and Justice R Banumathi said that it is for parliament to take a call on the issue and it was not in the realm of the apex court to issue a direction (to parliament) on this.

Chief Justice Thakur, in a disapproving note, told senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the petitioner, that if such petitions were filed without regard to the law, the court will come down very heavily.

Pointing out that the legal position on the issue was “very well settled”, the court told the petitioner advocate he was “wasting the court’s time”.

“You are wasting our time”, the bench said.

The petitioner was advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is also the spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit.

The court asked why none of those who are being allegedly discriminated against have come forward for redressal. “Why it is that none of the people from the community have not come,” asked Chief Justice Thakur.

If an aggrieved woman comes to the court, we may still consider examining it, the court said questioning the locus of the petitioner to raise the issue.

Asking Upadhyay to approach parliament for such a legislation, the bench said: “What you cannot do directly you are trying to do it indirectly?”

The petitioner had sought direction to the government take steps for the enactment of the Uniform Civil Code in fulfilment of its obligation under the Directive Principles of the State Policy in the constitution. Article 44, under the principles, says, “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

The petition had contended that a uniform civil code was a sign of modern progressive nation, which will show that India has moved away from religion, race, caste and sex discrimination.

Contending that at present “what we have right now in India is selective secularism, which means that in some areas, we are secular and in others”, the petitioner said: “While our economic growth has been the highest in the world, our social growth has not happened at all. In fact, it might be right to say that socially and culturally we have degraded to a point where we are neither modern nor traditional.”

Upadhyay in his PIL said that the uniform civil code meant that all the citizens have to follow the same civil laws irrespective whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, or Sikhs.

It said that uniform civil code did not limit the freedom to follow their respective religions, but it just mean that every person shall be treated equally, which Upadhyay described “as real secularism”.

(IANS)

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)