Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent announcement referring to the desirability of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) during his speech to booth workers in Bhopal has taken the national discourse by storm.
Even earlier, a Law Commission notification inviting views on implementation on UCC on 14 June this month was an indicative step highlighting the Modi government's intent to enact the Code.
Notably, the Code would enable the culmination of various personal laws under a single uniform code to be adhered to, irrespective of religion, ensuring equity and preventing discrimination.
While there have been sharp reactions from usual quarters, here is a quick glance on these reactions, and other important updates that have taken place since PM Modi's speech broached on this issue.
Emergency Meeting of the AIMPLB
After advocating for the nationwide implementation of the UCC, PM Modi's views were met with opposition from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). The Islamic personal law body, during an emergency online meeting held late on Tuesday (27 June) evening, decided to oppose the proposed law, which aims to formulate and implement a set of common personal laws for all citizens of India, regardless of their religion, caste, and creed.
During the online meeting, the Muslim body, including AIMPLB president Saifullah Rehmani, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali (chairman of Islamic Centre of India and member of AIMPLB), AIMPLB lawyers, and others, agreed to present their views more forcefully in front of the Law Commission. They also finalized the documents to be submitted to the Law Commission during the meeting.
The Union Ministry Of Law had previously filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, aligning with Prime Minister Modi's views expressed on Tuesday. The affidavit stated that "citizens belonging to different religions and denominations following different property and matrimonial laws is an affront to the nation's unity."
In response to the PM's viewpoint on the UCC, Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali said, "AIMPLB will oppose the UCC vigorously. We are devising a strategy to counter the government's proposed move by presenting our view more forcefully in front of the Law Commission."
He further added, "Politicians have been raising the issue of the Uniform Civil Code just before elections for several years. This time, too, the issue has emerged before the 2024 elections."
Maulana Khalid further stated, "The UCC will not only impact Muslims but also Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Jews, Parsis, and other small minorities residing in the country. In India, the language changes every 100 km, so it is not feasible to have the same set of rules for all communities. Each community has its own unique way of praying, performing rituals, and conducting ceremonies such as marriage. The Constitution grants everyone the freedom to practice their own faith and way of life."
Union Law Minister Meets With Amit Shah For Discussion
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal reached to meet Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday evening amidst growing clamor to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for all citizens in the country. During this, the Law Secretary was also present in the meeting.
According to sources, there was an important discussion about UCC in this meeting.
Notably, the law ministry had been contemplating over UCC for some time now, and the Law Commission notification for recommendations was in lieu of the same.
Reaction of Opposition Parties and Leaders
PM Modi's announcement on UCC was met with a sharp reaction from various camps in the Opposition.
Congress leaders accused PM Modi of diverting attention from real problems like inflation, unemployment, and the situation in Manipur by using the UCC issue.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said, "It seems PM Modi could not understand Obama's advice properly. Modi ji, tell me, will you end the "Hindu Undivided Family" (HUF)? Because of this, the country is suffering a loss of Rs 3064 crores every year."
He accused the PM of referring to 'Hindu Civil Code' when he speaks of UCC. He further challenged the PM, stating that by implementing UCC, all Islamic practices would be deemed illegal while protecting Hindu practices under the law.
He questioned whether the PM could abolish the Hindu Undivided Family and suggested observing the reaction of Sikhs in Punjab towards UCC.
Meanwhile, Arif Masood, a Congress leader and Executive member of the AIMPLB, criticized PM Modi, reminding him that he had taken an oath on the Constitution drafted by Dr BR Ambedkar.
He also questioned the effectiveness of the law on Triple Talaq, stating that it failed to provide relief to women as promised.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor stated that PM Nehru had expressed the view that a UCC was a desirable thing to have, but it was important to ensure the inclusion of all sections of society in its implementation.
TKS Elangovan, a leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, criticized PM Modi's stance on the UCC and proposed that its implementation should first begin within the Hindu religion.
Elangovan asserted, "The Uniform Civil Code should be initially introduced within the Hindu religion. This would allow every individual, including those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to perform pooja in any temple across the country."
He further explained, "Our opposition to the UCC stems from the fact that the Constitution already provides protection to every religion."
Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi called for involving all political parties and stakeholders in the discussion. The JD(U) leader stated, "We should engage all political parties and stakeholders in the issue of the Uniform Civil Code. Only BJP plays vote bank politics."
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel during a media interaction in Raipur questioned why the focus is solely on Hindu-Muslim dynamics and urged for the consideration of the tribal population.
However, not all Opposition parties oppose the UCC.
Parties like Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Aam Aadmi Party have previously expressed their support for it.
Uttarakhand CM's Statements On UCC
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday (27 June) said that the UCC will be implemented in the state soon.
He added that the UCC will be implemented soon after the final draft of the Code is submitted by the state government appointed committee.
Dhami said that PM Modi's statement about some people provoking the public in the name of UCC was "literally true".
"Just imagine how can there be different laws in the house for the members of the same family," Dhami said.
It should be noted that Dhami had last month announced that the committee set up by the state government to draft the UCC will submit its report by 30 June.
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