The Supreme Court's Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice JK Maheshwari has issued notice on a plea seeking Uniform Common Code for grounds of maintenance and alimony.

The Petition filed by former television journalist and BJP leader Shazia Ilmi sought directions to the Government and framing guidelines in claiming maintenance and alimony matters to formulate uniform grounds and standardized civil common code for all personal laws for spouses, children and aged parents to claim maintenance irrespective of their personal laws.

The Court has tagged the matter with similar pending matters. Senior Advocate Garima Prasad appeared for the Petitioner.

The Petition has averred that there are so many personal laws in Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi. It states that the grounds for maintenance varies and many times the aggrieved vulnerable groups are deprived of their entitlement of legitimate or justifiable and fair claim of maintenance because of discrepancies in their personal laws.

The Petition states "It is pertinent to mention here that in all such personal laws, there is a common feature to claim maintenance by wife and children but some of the personal laws does have certain restrictions and conditions which have made the deserving claimant and the vulnerable group deprived of fair and reasonable maintenance which resulted their violation of their fundamental right enshrined under 12, 15 & 21 and violation of human rights."

"Also in many personal laws, the categories of illegitimate child, unmarried daughters and infirmed parents and husband (with mentally and physically challenge not able to sustain) have been left out of the ambit to claim maintenance.", the Petition added further.

The Petitioner has averred that most often it is the women who compromise on careers in order to support families. It stated that their contribution to major share of housework is never calculated in monetary terms.

The Petition stated that a common code for maintenance irrespective of religion, sex and community would not only extend greater protection for vulnerable group entitled for maintenance but would also provide them with adequate maintenance and serve the ultimate purpose of Human rights.

It has been further averred that marriage, divorce, alimony and related issues fall within the vast gamut of secular activities and merely because these practices have lately come to be associated with religious practices does not restrict the legislature from making a law in that regard.

The Petition stated that in recent years, the Supreme Court has emphasized the need for Uniform Civil Code in the judgment of Jose Paulo v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira. It added that applicability, extent and enforcement of Uniform Civil Code is in conformity with Article 14, 15, 21, 25, 38, and 39.

The petition also stated that keeping in mind the concept of maintenance existing in other countries, India should also accept the international concept of sustaining the needy one.

The petitioner has sought direction from the Court towards issuance of guidelines and formulation of mechanism for streamlining the existing restrictions and conditions and discrepancies in the personal laws for granting claim of maintenance and alimony.

Cause Title- Shazia Ilmi v. Union of India & Ors.