Centre reopens civil code file, triggers fiery debate
Congress questions govt’s motives as move comes ahead of 2017 UP polls
NEW DELHI: The government’s move to seek a report from the law panel on implementing a uniform civil code has triggered a political debate with the principal opposition Congress linking it to assembly elections early next year. The debate is also likely to resonate in the Parliament session beginning July 18.
The law ministry has asked the Law Commission of India to examine and prepare a report on the contentious issue of enacting a uniform civil code, opposed by sections of minority communities.
India has separate sets of personal laws for each religion governing marriage, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance. While Hindu law overhaul began in the 1950s and continues, activists have long argued that Muslim personal law, which has remained mostly unchanged, is tilted against women.
To end the confusion over personal laws, the court has been advocating a uniform civil code.
Sources said commission chairman justice (retd) Balbir Singh Chauhan has called a meeting of the full panel next week to deliberate on the matter.
The panel is also likely to seek the views of the National Commission for Minorities on suggesting changes to the different personal laws relating to minority communities.
Sources said the commission could appoint separate teams to examine changes in law pertaining to marital law, property and succession and divorce laws.
However, deliberations with various stakeholders could take several months and even a few years, they said.
The move, coming barely months before the Uttar Pradesh elections and at a time when the triple talaq debate is on, led to the Congress questioning the government’s motive. CONSTITUTIONAL TANGLE
Article 44 says the state shall work towards securing a uniform civil code across the country replacing personal laws of various religious communities
The provision is a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy that are not enforceable by any court
But according to Article 37, the government is duty-bound to apply these principles in making laws.