In the run-up to the recently-concluded Gujarat Assembly elections, the state government had announced constituting a committee to study various aspects of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
The state government promised that all recommendations made by the committee will be incorporated when the bill is prepared.
The committee will be headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.
Surprisingly, the issue was never touched by the BJP during its two-month-long campaign for the Assembly polls and why the party did not encash on the issue, is puzzling Shamshad Pathan, an advocate and human rights activist.
The UCC aims to give equal rights to Muslim women, from which they are deprived under the separate religious law, there is no need to worry or be concerned about its negative impact, says Mohsin Lokhandwala, the Gujarat BJP Minority Cell President.
Even under the Sharia law, women does have a right in the ancestral property, but it is not equal rights to male, with the UCC they will be entitled for equal rights, even in adoption case it will give more clarity. In marriage, divorce, alimony, this law will be protecting Muslim women rights, said Lokhandwala.
It is just not about the equal rights to Muslim women, it is also about two separate civil laws in one country, says seer Jyotirnath, Sanatan Sant Samiti President.
“I have travelled to many countries and studied the Constitutions of many nations. No country has two sets of law for marriage or succession/property act, then how can we have different laws or acts on religious lines? That is the reason that our nation, too, should have the UCC at the earliest and implement it,” the seer said.
Advocate Pathan sees this as an attempt of diversion of people’s mind from core issues like inflation, costlier education, unemployment, recession, the ruling party wants to use UCC card for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“Otherwise there is no data shared with the people of India that how many Muslim women have complained about injustice under the Sharia law and not getting rights in the ancestral property,” he added.
He disputes that only the UCC can protect and give equal rights to women.
Citing example of the Sharia law, the advocate said in the 1,400-year-old law, women (daughter, mother, grandmother, wife) were given right of 1/4th of the ancestral property.
“It is equally true that the law is not implemented in totality in the community. But can Gujarat or the Central government guarantee that after UCC is in place, all Muslim women will get their rights?” he queried.
“The same promise was made by the Centre when the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, was implemented. Yet even today, many women are being given ‘talaq’ (divorce) following the old tradition. As an advocate, even under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, I have helped many Muslim women in getting alimony or other civil rights, then why a separate Act?” he asked.