Saturday September 21, 2019
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Supreme Court to examine validity of Muslim triple talaaq system, polygamy

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New Delhi: Noting that Muslim women are at a disadvantage under the Muslim Personal Law with no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and polygamy, a Supreme Court bench has urged the Chief Justice of India to constitute an “appropriate bench” to examine the validity of such practices saying that it amounts to the violation of women’s fundamental rights.

According to reports, the Apex court is set to thoroughly analyze the Muslim Personal Law and is considering a ban on Polygamy and Triple Talaaq system in a bid to end the alleged gender bias.

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.

The bench noted the issue was not merely a policy matter but “concerns the fundamental rights of the women guaranteed under the Constitution.”

The issue 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 in spite 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 the currency of the first marriage, resulting in a 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.

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US: Supreme Court Blocks Administration’s Effort to Add Citizenship Question on Census

The citizenship question was meant to better enforce the Voting Rights Act

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US, Supreme Court, Citizenship
FILE - Demonstrators protest during a Fair Maps rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump responded Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to block his administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the upcoming U.S. census by saying he’d asked his lawyers whether there was a way to delay the nationwide head count.

In a tweet hours after the court announced its decision, Trump said it “seems totally ridiculous” that the government could not question people about their citizenship on the census, which takes place once every 10 years.

The Supreme Court ruled the administration’s explanation — that the citizenship question was meant to better enforce the Voting Rights Act — was “more of a distraction” from the issue than an explanation.

Opponents of the citizenship question say it would intimidate noncitizens into not answering the census, ultimately leaving them underrepresented in Congress.

US, Supreme Court, Citizenship
U.S. President Donald Trump responded Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to block his administration’s effort. Pixabay

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal justices in the 5-4 ruling.

 The nation’s highest court also announced Thursday that it was rejecting a request to intervene in states’ redistricting efforts.  Redrawing the boundaries of voting districts is meant to ensure proportional representation in state legislatures as the population grows and changes locations.

Republicans in the state of North Carolina and Democrats in the state of Maryland have been accused of redrawing the lines of voting districts to keep power in the hands of the ruling party.

The chief justices said manipulation of the electoral map, a practice known colloquially as gerrymandering, is a problem for state governments to solve, not the Supreme Court.

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Thursday was the final day of rulings by the Supreme Court before its summer break. (VOA)