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Report No. 136

Conflicts in High Court Decisions on Central Laws - How to Foreclose and How to Resolve

Chapter I

Introduction

1.1. Problem under examination.-

The constitutional guarantee of "Equality before law" notwithstanding, under the identical provisions of the identical Central law, can a citizen 'have' a legal right in one State and 'not have' such a right in another part of the country? For instance, can a spouse 'have' a right to seek maintenance under section 25(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 in Andhra Pradesh but 'not to have' such a right in West Bengal?1

And if identical provisions of identical Central Acts are interpreted, administered, and applied, in different and inconsistent manner in different parts of the country, the problem certainly calls for urgent and immediate attention with the end in view to-(1) remove the existing anomalies in the laws arising by reason of conflicting judgments of the different High Courts, and (2) to evolve a mechanism to ensure that such anomalies do not come into existence in future. Hence the present suo motu exercise.

1. See Chapter IV, para. 4.11, in regard to existing conflict on this point in the context of section 25(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.



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