Supreme Court verdict on maintenance to divorced Muslim women ended threat to Constitution: BJP

    The Hawk
    July10/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi lauds this judgment for restoring constitutional prestige, emphasizing equal rights for all married women.

    Sudhanshu Trivedi

    New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday lauded the Supreme Court verdict, which averred that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to seek maintenance from her husband, saying the judgment has finished off a threat posed to the Constitution by the decision of a past Congress government.

    BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said the Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to enact a law to overrule an apex court judgment granting alimony to divorced Muslim women was one of the biggest threats to the Constitution as it gave primacy to Sharia, Islamic laws.

    "Whenever the Congress has been in power, the Constitution was under threat. It (Rajiv Gandhi government's) was a decision which gave primacy to Sharia over the Constitution. The prestige of the Constitution which was crushed during the Congress government has been restored by this order. The verdict has ended one of the big threats posed to the Constitution," he told a press conference while replying to a question.

    In what is popularly known as the Shah Bano case, the Supreme Court in 1985 had allowed her plea for alimony from her husband after she was divorced. However, the then Congress government passed a law in Parliament to overrule the verdict following protests from conservative Muslim groups.

    The Supreme Court has now granted a big relief to Muslim women, Trivedi said, adding that it should be seen beyond a matter of religion as it is an issue of equal rights.

    There is no secular state where Sharia provisions like halala, triple talaq and Haj subsidy were allowed and the then government by enacting a law had turned India into a partial Islamic state, he claimed.

    In a judgment of far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a Muslim woman can seek maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the CrPC and said the "religion neutral" provision is applicable to all married women irrespective of their religion.

    The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 will not prevail over the secular law, a bench of justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih said while stressing that maintenance is not charity but the right of all married women.

    At the presser, Trivedi said Russia's highest state award, Order of St Andrew the Apostle, being conferred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Russian President Vladimir Putin is a matter of pride and satisfaction.

    Lauding Modi's leadership and global standing, he said many countries, including France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have bestowed their highest honour on him. He has addressed the joint sitting of the US Congress twice, the BJP leader noted, adding that the US has reiterated that India is a strategic ally while Russia has honoured him with its highest award.

    No leader of a country enjoys a position like him, Trivedi said.

    Taking a swipe at opposition parties, who have questioned Modi over foreign issues, including the Ukraine war, he said they have the habit of casting doubts on every auspicious occasion.

    Slamming the Congress, he said the party had passed a resolution at its CWC meeting in support of Palestine after conflict broke out between Israel and militant group Hamas.

    "I want to ask the Congress whether any resolution on the Russia-Ukraine issue. On how many international issues, has the CWC (Congress Working Committee) passed any resolution," he said, adding that the opposition party should not engage in petty selfish politics over foreign issues.

    To a question about rising population, he said it is a serious matter and all parties should consider it rising above partisan lines.

    Demographic changes are a challenge to some and an opportunity to some others, he said in a swipe at the Congress, noting that the biggest margin in the Lok Sabha poll was in Assam's Dhubri where its candidate Rakibul Hussain won by over 10 lakh votes.

    In reference to the view, supported by the BJP, that the region has seen a large influx of infiltrators from Bangladesh over the decades, Trivedi said people should ponder over the shift of support to the main opposition party from the preceding MP Badruddin Ajmal, who he alleged was considered supportive to the infiltrators.

    Asked about the terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and the opposition's criticism of the BJP, he said the government is acting strongly. Terror incidents were taking place across the country before the Modi government came, he said, and cited high polling percentage and tourists' influx to the Valley to assert that change has taken place.