Uniform Civil Code: Congress charge on Government

New Delhi: The move by the Law Commission of India to seek public and religious organisations’ views on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) may bring divergent views in the Opposition unity camp into the open, just as the latter is preparing to hold a conclave in Patna to finalise plans to form an anti-BJP front for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

While most Opposition parties are opposed to the idea of a UCC, parties such as the Shiv Sena and the Aam Aadmi Party have previously spoken in support of it. UCC is like an article of faith for the Sena, which had a lengthy affiliation with the BJP before the two broke ways in 2019.

The Congress led the charge against the 22nd Law Commission’s move today, reminding it that the 21st Law Commission had said that a Uniform Civil Code is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage,” and telling the Commission that the interests of the nation are distinct from the BJP’s political ambitions.

“While Indian culture’s diversity can and should be celebrated, specific groups or weaker sections of society must not be marginalised in the process.” The resolution of this disagreement does not imply the extinction of distinction. As a result, rather than developing a universal civil code, which is not essential nor desirable at this juncture, this Commission has dealt with discriminatory laws. The Law Commission’s Consultation Paper on Reform of Family Law, issued in August 2018, stated that “most countries are now moving towards recognition of difference, and the mere existence of difference does not imply discrimination, but is indicative of a robust democracy”, he said.

The Congress expressly stated that the Law Commission’s statement on Wednesday clearly states that it was done on a referral from the Ministry of Law and Justice. “It is strange that the Law Commission is seeking a new reference when, according to its press release, its predecessor, the 21st Law Commission, published a consultation paper on the subject in August 2018.”

“There are no reasons given for revisiting the subject, other than vague references to its relevance and importance, as well as various court orders,” said Congress communication head Jairam Ramesh.

The true reason, he claimed, was that the 21st Law Commission, after conducting a deep and exhaustive assessment of the matter, concluded that a UCC is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage.”

“Over the years, the Law Commission has produced an enviable body of work on a wide range of national issues.” It should be conscious of that legacy and remember that the national interests are distinct from the BJP’s political goals,” the senior Congress leader stressed.

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