Centre Seeks Progressive Uniform Civil Code; Opposition Skeptical

The Muslim Person Law Board’s reaction to the Law Commission’s questionnaire revived the political debate over UCC.

3 min read
The Constitution guarantees each individual right to equality, right to live with dignity. (Photo: iStock)

In the face of strong opposition to Uniform Civil Code by Muslim outfits, the Congress claimed its implementation would be impossible, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asserted that the move is aimed at moving towards a progressive society.

The debate gained renewed life after the Law Commission sought feedback on 7 October from public on whether the practice of triple talaq be abolished and whether a uniform civil code should be optional.

The All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and various other outfits today opposed the Law Commission's move and announced their boycott of the move, accusing the government of waging a "war" against the community.

AIMIM’s Owaisi Opposes UCC But Will Answer Questionnaire

While he is opposed to a Uniform Civil Code, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi said on Thursday that his party would respond to the Law Commission's questionnaire on the issue unlike All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). He said:

Every community or every caste in India, whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, tribal, Christian or Sikhs, they have their own culture. This country celebrates the diversity of culture and religion.

Opposition Against UCC

The Opposition parties opposed the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code saying it would kill the diversity of the country.

Reacting to the issue, former law minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily said it would be difficult to implement UCC in a country like India where various communities and groups are governed by personal laws.

"In a country of this nature, implementation of Uniform Civil Code is next to impossible," he said, adding that no one should take it as a communal agenda or a ‘Hindu versus Muslim’ issue.

He said 200-300 personal laws exist in India covering various communities.

JD(U) MP Ali Anwar asked the government why it was only focusing on Muslims and said it is not the time to start such a debate. "They want to polarise the society."

Centre Asks For Debate

BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said the Law Commission is taking opinions from all the stakeholders on the issue, following which it will form a "considered opinion" and give it to the Supreme Court.

We are an open, democratic and secular country. The debate should happen. The current effort should not be looked with a prejudiced mindset, but an open mindset. Keep the door of the debate open.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Minister (Independent Charge)

Union Minister Arun Jaitley asserted that religion cannot dictate upon the rights of an individual and attacked the Congress over its stand on the Uniform Civil Code, saying that the Constitution ensures a dignified life to everyone.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Photo: PTI)
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Photo: PTI)

Claiming that it was the Constituent Assembly controlled by the Congress that had envisaged a common civil law for all Indians, Jaitley said:

Personal law cannot practise, propagate discrimination; cannot allow a compromise with human dignity. Personal law and practises can certainly deal with religion, can dictate upon rituals. The religion cannot dictate upon rights of individuals.

VHP and Shiv Sena Chipped In Too

Calling the AIMPLB statement “shameful”, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain said the board has politicised a matter being heard by the Supreme Court.

Wading into the debate over Uniform Civil Code issue, the Shiv Sena claimed that the Muslim outfits are opposing the Law Commission only because India is a secular country.

Laws in our country are based on religion. In the past, there have been amendments to laws for the Hindu and Catholic communities as and when needed. Also in the Muslim community, laws have been amended in countries like Turkey, Iraq and Malaysia that follow Islam.
Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena Spokesperson

Jain also slammed the "secular" parties for supporting its stand, alleging it has exposed their "anti-women and anti-Constitution" facet.

(Source: PTI)

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