Uniform Civil Code: Legislators to decide policy, not court, Centre tells Delhi HC

BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who has been raking up the issue from time to time, had filed a PIL in 2019 demanding the UCC.

The Centre also said that Article 44 creates an obligation upon the State to endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code.

The Central government has told the Delhi High Court that Uniform Civil Code is a policy matter and elected representatives should take a decision on it. The government said that no direction in this regard can be issued by the court while seeking the dismissal of a petition in the Delhi HC demanding drafting of the Uniform Civil Code. The government also informed the court that the matter is currently pending with the Law Commission of India. The case is listed for hearing on January 13.

BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who has been raking up the issue from time to time, had filed a PIL in 2019 demanding the UCC. The Ministry of Law and Justice said in response to the PIL that the UCC is an important subject matter, involves sensitivity and requires in-depth study of various personal laws governing different communities. The ministry said that the Centre had requested the Law Commission of India to undertake the examination of various issues relating to the Uniform Civil Code and to make a recommendation.

“As and when the report of Law Commission in the matter is received, the government would examine the same in consultation with various stakeholders involved in the matter,” reported the Indian Express quoting the government.

The Centre also said that Article 44 creates an obligation upon the State to endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code and the provision is given to effect integration of India by bringing various communities on the common platform on matters that are presently governed by diverse personal laws.

In his petition, Upadhyay has argued that diversity in personal matters along with religious differentiation leads to tension between different communities and a common civil code for all is essential to promote fraternity, unity and national integration.

During the recent Winter Session of Parliament, BJP MP from Godda in Jharkhand Nishikant Dubey had also called for implementing the UCC. He said in the Lok Sabha that implementation of the Uniform Civil Code will be a true tribute to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the architect of our Constitution. He said that though India was divided in the name of Hindu-Muslim, it’s time that Article 44 of the Constitution is implemented.

In fact, the Delhi High Court had itself said in the past that the Uniform Civil Code should be implemented in India. Delivering a judgement on a plea involving the applicability of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 concerning the Meena community on July 7 last year, Justice Prathiba M Singh had said that there is a need for a Uniform Civil Code in India and asked the Centre to take the necessary steps in this regard.

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