Home » India News » No fixed timeframe for Uniform Civil Code due to sensitivity and in-depth study: says Centre | India News – Times of India

No fixed timeframe for Uniform Civil Code due to sensitivity and in-depth study: says Centre | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Amidst courts prodding the Centre to implement the contentious Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and a section of the population opposing the idea, the government on Thursday said it was not possible for it to lay down any rigid timeframe in view of the sensitivity of the matter and the in-depth study required.
Law minister Kiren Rijiju, while replying to a written question whether the Centre was planning to implement UCC “any time soon”, said, Article 44 of the Constitution [in Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)] did provide that the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.
However, Rijiju quoted the constraints involved in implementing UCC “any time soon”. He said, “In view of the importance of the subject matter and sensitivity involved, and it also requires in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities, the government requested the Law Commission of India to undertake examination of various issues relating to uniform civil code and to make recommendation thereof.”
He finally said, “Hence, it may not be possible to lay down any rigid time frame in the matter.”
The minister’s reply came close on the heels of Delhi high court’s observation last month urging the government to take necessary steps towards translating the hope of implementation of UCC into reality.
On the other hand, a section of the population, such as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has been opposing tooth and nail any such move.
Backing the need to introduce a uniform civil code, the Delhi high court said in July that the “hope expressed in Article 44 of the Constitution that the state shall secure for its citizens a uniform civil code ought not to remain a mere hope”.
Justice Pratibha M Singh said a code “common to all” in the country is needed and urged the central government to take necessary steps in this matter. Its observations came while hearing an estranged couple’s plea for divorce where the wife has challenged the application of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA).
Justice Singh said “in modern Indian society, which is gradually becoming homogenous, the traditional barriers of religion, community and caste are slowly dissipating”.
The HC said citizens should not be made to struggle due to conflicts and contradictions in various personal laws on the issues of marriage and divorce, highlighting that “courts have been repeatedly confronted with the conflicts that arise in personal laws”.
“Persons belonging to various communities, castes and religions, who forge marital bonds, struggle with such conflicts,” it said.
The HC noted that the Supreme Court has also repeatedly highlighted the need for such a code, which would enable “uniform principles being applied in respect of aspects such as marriage, divorce, succession, etc., so that settled principles, safeguards and procedures can be laid down”, and referred to the Shah Bano verdict. It said decisions were “rendered way back in 1985 and more than 35 years have passed”.
In the Shah Bano case, the SC had said that a common civil code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws having conflicting ideologies. It had observed that the state was charged with the duty of securing a UCC for citizens.
“It is unclear as to what steps have been taken in this regard till date,” the HC said and directed that its order be communicated to the secretary, ministry of law & justice … for necessary action.
On the other hand, AIMPLB has called the proposed UCC “unconstitutional and unworkable for a diverse country like India”. The board has urged that the central government reconsider its aggressive stance towards getting the UCC implemented in the country and concentrate on real issues like education, employment, inflation, health infrastructure and political crisis, gnawing at our existence.
Board secretary and spokesperson Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani reiterated last month itself – after the Delhi high court’s observation – that the country gives everyone the right to live and practise a religion of their choice.
“Bringing about UCC will only come in the way of that fundamentally available right to all Indian citizens. There are more cons than any evident benefit of the UCC. It is in contradiction with the Sharia (Muslim religious laws), legal rights and also social and cultural aspects of living of different citizens in the country,” said Maulana Rahmani.
“To divert from the real issues of employment and development, BJP instigates topics which confuse people and divide them. It is known that in the monsoon session of Parliament, the population control bill and UCC is to be presented as private bills by two BJP representatives. The UP government is also set to pass the population draft bill. We are strongly against these,” he added.
Explaining the Sharia, legal and socio-cultural aspects of UCC the senior cleric said, “Sharia gives certain rights to Muslims which will be in contradiction with the UCC. Like polygamy is expected to be dissolved under it. Similarly, the right to divorce will be taken away from the husband and put in the court which will exploit the woman and remove the chance of mutual and amicable divorce between the partners.”
Maulana Rahmani then went on to say that the beauty of India lies in its varied coloured people who were given constitutional right to practise their religion of choice. “Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution give the right to practice religion of choice. The UCC contradicts this and becomes unconstitutional,” he added.

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