Awaiting 21st Law Commission’s final report on Uniform Civil Code: Centre

The Centre, in an affidavit, has told the Delhi High Court that it would examine a detailed report of the 21st Law Commission which undertook detailed research on the Uniform Civil Code after receiving several representations from various stakeholders.

A consultation paper on August 31, 2018, titled ‘Reform of Family Law’ was uploaded in its official website for wider discussions, the Centre said, while replying to a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhay seeking to draft a Uniform Civil Code in the spirit of the Article 44 read with Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

As and when the report of Law Commission is received, the Government would examine the same in consultation with the various stakeholders involved in the matter, the Centre added.

There were no commissions in the matter after the 21st Law Commission in 2018 as the Centre did not reconstitute one.

The plea contended that it is necessary to study the Civil Laws of the developed countries, particularly the Common Civil Codes of France, China, and Japan and also necessary to incorporate the best practices of all religions and communities. It is pertinent to state that Goa has a Common Civil Code for a long time. Therefore, the same code may be amended and adopted as the UCC throughout the territory of India.

In its submission, the Centre said that in view of the importance of the subject matter and sensitivity involved, it is required that an in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities be conducted.

Updadhyay’s petition contended that Shariat is controlled by legislation in Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India, a uniform law of maintenance was adopted by Section 488 CrPC. When Section 125 CrPC extended to divorced women, Muslims contended that it should not be applied to them as it was contrary to Shariat but the court turned down this contention.

The court also rejected the argument that according to Muslim Personal Law, the husband’s liability to provide for the maintenance of his divorced wife is limited to iddat. It was held that Section 25 CrPC overrides personal law. If the government is serious to bring about a common civil code, it should come forward with an authoritative pronouncement instead of “being beguiled by statements issued by few fundamentalists led by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which is an NGO, registered in 1973”, the plea said.




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