UCC is BJP’s Commitment, Happy to Have Introduced Private Member’s Bill in Parliament: MP Kirodi Lal

UCC is BJP’s Commitment, Happy to Have Introduced Private Member’s Bill in Parliament: MP Kirodi Lal

UCC is BJP’s Commitment, Happy to Have Introduced Private Member’s Bill in Parliament: MP Kirodi Lal

BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, Kirodi Lal Meena said he moved the bill on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code after approval from the leadership.

The Uniform Civil Code,sometimes referred as UCC, is a proposed law in India to formulate and implement personal laws of citizens which apply to all citizens regardless of their religion, gender or sexual orientation.

The first thing to note is that separate personal laws are a legacy of the British empire, which based its administrative strategies on the classical principle of divide et impera or divide and rule. Paradoxically, Goa, which joined the Indian Union in December 1961, is the only state to have a UCC—that too imposed by another colonial power, the Portuguese, as far back as 1867.

Independent India tried to bring in a Uniform Civil Code, which had the backing of both Jawaharlal Nehru, our first prime minister, and B R Ambedkar, our first law minister. What happened instead was that the Hindu Code Bill brought about a uniform civil law on those identified as Hindus, under which term the Constitution also included Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. The Muslims, Christians, and Parsis were left out.

UCC does not mean that customary practices will be abolished, but any citizen who feels aggrieved by them can seek justice and redressal rather than having to put up with an oppressive practice.

The Rajya Sabha MP and tribal leader from Rajasthan also cited examples of the courts taking a cognizance of the disparity in personal laws. “Recently, the Supreme Court and high courts have expressed concerns over the varied laws for the same things in the country. The issue of the UCC had come to the Constituent Assembly as well and Dr BR Ambedkar wanted to implement it but some had protested. So, it was put in Article 44 to be brought forth in future. The UCC is in favor of women and society," he said.

Responding to whether the Centre could bring the UCC into action before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Meena said, “I think so. The rest is dependent on the party leadership. There have been states that have okayed the UCC and formed a committee. Take the example of Gujarat’s soon-to-be CM, Bhupendra Patel, who has announced that the state will implement the UCC."

Constitution and it should have one law without discrimination based on religion, caste and other aspects.

"Like in our country, we have different laws for different religions. Under shariat, a Muslim can marry four women but, even in our neighbouring country Pakistan, the man first needs the first wife’s approval to marry the second. And if a Hindu weds again while already being married, they will be imprisoned. This disparity in the law should not exist and it does in cases of property, divorce, adoption and other aspects that affect lives," he said.

The UCC is a directive principle, which means there will be uniform personal laws for the entire country. To date, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Assam have formed a committee to implement it while the BJP had promised the same for Himachal Pradesh if it returned to power in the hill state.

The members also pointed out that while Meena’s Uniform Civil Code in India Bill, 2020 was listed at least six times in the past, it was never introduced following objections raised by the Opposition and subsequent intervention of the treasury benches. “What has changed, I do not know,” said RJD MP Manoj Jha, registering his protest.

Union Minister and Leader of the House Piyush Goyal said he was “pained” to hear some of the comments made by the Opposition MPs against the introduction of the Bill, which, he said, was the “legitimate right of a member”. “Let this subject be debated in the House,” Goyal said. The motion for introduction of the Bill was cleared with 63 votes in favour and 23 against it. 

The issue of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is again at the centre of political discussion. Islamic scholar Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi said that if UCC is passed then it will create problems in society. He also warned that if this law is passed and implemented then Muslims will begin the movement with other minority groups.

The Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said that if one has pledged to the Constitution of India, then how could one oppose a common law to govern citizens of the country, irrespective of one's religion.

Further, Khan stated that UCC aims to protect the personal rights of a person. "At present, unless the first wife raises an objection to the husband's second marriage, it is not considered a complaint," Khan said.

Khan said that the UCC aimed at rendering equal justice and equal protection before the law. More than prohibition from practices that take place in any community, he said that equal justice would be allowed under the aegis of the Uniform Civil Code.

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