AIMPLB rejects Uniform Civil Code
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Saturday staunchly reiterated its opinion against the Uniform Civil Code. Maulana Wali Rahmani, general secretary of the AIMPLB said that it is not acceptable to Muslims at any cost. At a conference organised by the NGO Peace Foundation, Rahmani said that Muslim personal law is based on divine law, hence it cannot be altered.
What is the uniform civil code?
In India, different personal laws (property, marriage and divorce, inheritance and succession) exist for Hindus and Muslims. The implementation of a uniform civil code will mean common personal laws for all the citizens of this country, irrespective of religion and gender.
What will the uniform civil code do?
In the 1950s, modernization of the Hindu Law took place, but colonial-era laws for Catholics and Muslims went unchanged. By abolishing personal laws, the uniform civil code will eliminate gender biases in the Hindu Law, Catholic Law and Muslim Law that challenge the right to equality. Practices suppressing the empowerment of women such as Polygamy and Triple Talaaq would be abolished for good.
The Shah Bano case (1985): Starting the debate
Shah Bano was a Muslim woman who was divorced by her husband. She filed maintenance claims against him in the Supreme Court and won. However, the Rajiv Gandhi government passed the Muslim Women Act 1986, which denied divorced Muslim women settlement claims in court.
Uniform civil code - the grey area
Article 44 says that the state will work towards acquiring a uniform civil code across the country by replacing personal laws of various religious communities. This provision falls under the Directive Principles of State Policy, meaning no court can enforce this law upon the citizens. At the same time, Article 37 bounds the government by duty to apply these principles in making laws.
BJP Government seeks report on Uniform Civil Code
Marking the first instance of its kind, the Modi Government last month asked the Law Commission to "examine" the issue of implementing the uniform civil code. Writing to the Law Commission, the Law Ministry sought a detailed report on the same. According to Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, executing the uniform civil code "is the duty of the State".
Having always been in favour of common personal laws for citizens across the country, the Uniform Civil Code found a place in the BJP Manifesto released for General Elections in 2009 and 2014 both.
Opposition eyes Uniform Civil Code distrust
BJP move on the Uniform Civil Code was questioned by the Congress party, which called it a 'stunt' just before the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. "If this government is serious about implementing a uniform civil code, it should withdraw the tax rebate given to Hindu undivided families", said Asaduddin Owaisi. General Secretary of CPI-M, Sitaram Yechury too questioned the government's intentions behind the move.
Minority rights hindrance to common civil code: Law Ministry
According to the Union Law Ministry, three prime obstacles to the Uniform Civil Code were conservatism (resisting attempts to progress), ideas of separatism and misunderstood personal laws. A note by the Law Ministry stated that it was a challenge for the government, "to reconcile legal uniformity with protection of minority rights." The note recommended the Law Commission's examination of the Uniform Civil Code.
Public perception of uniform civil code sought by Law Commission
On 7th October, 2016, the Law Commission sought public responses on the uniform civil code. The commission issued a questionnaire which included 16 queries, including questions about the inclusion of divorce, marriage, adoption, child custody, succession and inheritance under the common code. Retired Justice BS Chauhan said, "The Commission hopes to begin a healthy conversation about the viability of a uniform civil code."
Political dissent over Uniform Civil Code
Congress on Thursday stated that implementing the uniform civil code is impossible whereas according to BJP, the same hints at the progression of society. Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) said that the uniform civil code will "kill" India's diversity. Parties like JD(U) are accusing the central government of attempting to polarize citizens just ahead of Assembly elections.
UCC a game-changer for UP polls?
Political analysts believe that the Centre rekindled the UCC debate to upset the vote banks for the upcoming UP assembly polls. Analysts say even though the BJP will lose Muslim and minority votes, a majority could swing toward them for their stance.