Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Marriage under Hindu law is ‘sacrament’, not contract: Delhi High Court

Marriage under the Hindu law is “sacrament” and “not a contract” which can be entered into by executing a deed, Delhi High Court has observed while dismissing a plea by a woman who had challenged an order refusing to declare her as the legally-wedded wife. The woman had approached the court seeking her appointment for job on compassionate ground after the death of her alleged husband, a former sanitation staff in a city government hospital, and a direction to the medical superintendent to release consequential benefits and allow her to join duties.

The high court noted in its judgement that the petitioner had contended that she had married the man by way of execution of a marriage deed in June 1990 without disputing the fact that he was living with his earlier wife, who had died in May 1994. “Since inception, the contention of the appellant (woman) had been that her marriage with the man on June 2, 1990 was performed by way of execution of a marriage deed and an affidavit. It is not disputed by her that the man had a living spouse on June 2, 1990 and she expired on May 11, 1994.

“Under Hindu Law, marriage is a ‘sacrament’ (solemn pledge) and not a contract which can be entered into by execution of a marriage deed. On June 2, 1990 the man was having a living spouse,” Justice Pratibha Rani said. The high court said the lower court had rightly held that the woman cannot claim the status of a legally wedded wife of the man on the strength of the alleged marriage and its order cannot be termed illegal. The woman had claimed she was the man’s widow and after his death, she had applied for appointment on compassionate ground after which she was offered appointment as ‘safai karamchari’ on temporary basis in the hospital.

Later, a show cause notice was served on her asking her to explain the legality and validity of her marriage with the man. She had replied that on the date of death of her husband in February 1997, she was his only wife. The woman’s plea before the trial court was contested by the Delhi government and medial superintendent of the hospital who said that she had misrepresented about being the legally wedded wife of the man. The court, in its verdict, noted that the trial court in its judgement had referred to the earlier order passed by the high court in which it was held that issuance of succession certificate in favour of the petitioner without impleading the legal heirs of the man was of hardly any value.

“It is settled legal position that in second appeal, high court cannot set aside concurrent finding of fact given by the courts below. The second appeal can be entertained only if a substantial question of law is raised. The rationale behind is that appreciation and reappreciation of an evidence must come to an end with the first appeal,” the court noted. “It has been consistent view that high court has no jurisdiction to entertain second appeal merely on the plea that another view is possible on appreciation of relevant evidence available on record,” it said.


http://indianexpress.com/article/india/marriage-under-hindu-law-is-sacrament-not-contract-delhi-high-court-4496819/


Constitution bench to decide petitions on triple talaq: Supreme Court

A five-judge constitution bench would be set up by the Supreme Court to hear and decide on a batch of petitions relating to the practice of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar took on record three sets of issues framed by parties with regard to the cases and said the questions for consideration of the constitution bench would be decided on March 30.

The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D V Chandrachud, said "the issues are very important. These issues cannot be scuttled".

Referring to the legal issues framed by the Centre, it said all of them relate to the constitutional issues and needed to be dealt by a larger bench.

The bench asked the parties concerned to file their respective written submissions, running not beyond 15 pages, by the next date of hearing, besides the common paper book of case laws to be relied upon by them during the hearing to avoid duplicity.

When a woman lawyer referred to the fate of the apex court judgement in the famous Shah Bano case, the bench said "there are always two sides in a case. We have been deciding cases for last 40 years. We have to go by the law and we would not go beyond the law."

The bench also made it clear that it is willing to sit on Saturdays and Sundays to decide on the issue as it was very important.

During the last hearing, the apex court had said it would decide the issues pertaining to 'legal' aspects of the practices of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims but not deal with the question whether divorce under Muslim law needs to be supervised by courts as it fell under the legislative domain.

'Nikah halala' means a man cannot remarry a woman after triple talaq unless she has already consummated her marriage with another man and then her new husband dies or divorces her.

The bench headed by the CJI had said "You (lawyers for parties) sit together and finalise the issues to be deliberated upon by us."

The bench had made it clear to the parties concerned that it would not deal with the factual aspects of the particular case and would rather decide the legal issue.

The apex court had said that the question whether divorce under Muslim Personal Law needed to be supervised by either courts or by a court-supervised institutional arbitration fell under the legislative domain.

It, however, allowed lawyers to file small synopsis of cases pertaining to alleged victims of triple talaq.

The Centre had earlier opposed the practice of triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims and favoured a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism.

Ministry of Law and Justice had referred to constitutional principles like gender equality, secularism, international covenants, religious practices and marital law prevalent in various Islamic countries.


Responding to a batch of petitions including the one filed by Shayaro Bano challenging the validity of such practices among Muslims, the Centre had first dealt with the right of gender equality under the Constitution.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board, however, had rubbished the stand taken by the Narendra Modi government that the apex court should re-look these practices as they are violative of fundamental rights like gender equality and the ethos of secularism, a key part of the basic structure of the Constitution.


Another prominent Islamic organisation Jamiat Ulema-i- Hind had told the court there is no scope for interference with the Muslim Personal Law in which triple talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy are well rooted and stand on much higher pedestal as compared to other customs.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/constitution-bench-to-decide-petitions-on-triple-talaq-supreme-court/articleshow/57185261.cms