New Delhi: Muslim bodies are opposing the initiative taken by the Law Commission of India to seek views from the stakeholders on the important issue of Uniform Civil Code.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and a number of Muslim outfits today opposed the Law Commission’s questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code.
At a press conference here, representatives of (AIMPLB) and other Muslim bodies took the stand that that if implemented, the Uniform Civil Code, will strike at pluralism and diversity of this country. Prominent among those present were AIMPLB general secretary Wali Rehmani and Jamiat-Ulema -e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani.
Criticizing the Central government on the issue of triple talaq and the stand it has taken before the Supreme Court on this issue, those representing the Muslim organisations said that among the Muslims fewer divorce cases have been reported in comparison with Hindus as per Census 2011. It was also underscored that besides Muslim women, even the Sikhs and Christians were opposed to Uniform Civil Code.
The Government of India last week opposed in the Supreme Court the practice of ‘Nikah Halala’ (triple talaq) and polygamy among Muslims and pressed for a review on grounds of gender equality and secularism. To put forward this stand of the Centre, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, on October 7 filed an affidavit in the Apex Court referring to principle of gender equality and secularism enshrined in the Constitution to drive home the point that the practice of triple talaq and polygamy needed to be adjudicated by the apex court.
Simultaneously on October 7, the Law Commission of India urged all concerned to engage with it on the comprehensive exercise of the revision and reform of family laws, citing Article 44 of the Indian Constitution that goes on to assert that ‘the state shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India’.
In an appeal, the Chairman Law Commission of India Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan said that the objective behind this endeavour is to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise the various cultural practices. The commission invites suggestions on all possible models and templates of a common civil code.
Justice Chauhan said that the Commission hopes to begin a healthy conversation about the viability of a uniform civil code and will focus on family laws of all religions and the diversity of customary practices, to address social injustice rather than plurality of laws. Responding to the demands of social change, the Commission will consider the opinions of all stake-holders and the general public for ensuring that the norms of no one class, group or community dominate the tone or tenor of family law reforms.
In his appeal, Justice Chauhan has emphasised that family law reform, inter-alia has to view women’s rights as an end in itself rather than a matter of constitutional provisions, religious rights and political debate alone. With this in the background the Commission has opened the debate on uniform civil code.
The Commission has prepared a questionnaire to solicit opinions and ideas of the public about the ways in which family law reforms could be introduced in the most integrative manner without compromising the diversity and the plurality that constitutes the core of India’s social fabric.
CLICK here for the Law Commission of India Questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code