With Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirodi Lal Meena introducing a private members Bill in the Upper House of the parliament last week for seeking the constitution of a committee to prepare and implement a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, a debate over this issue has started once again.
In Madhya Pradesh where assembly elections are due at the end of 2023, the ruling BJP is leaving no stone unturned to push the issue on a large scale.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, joining the ranks of his BJP counterparts in several other states, has already announced that a committee would be constituted to implement the Uniform Civil Code in the state.
Chouhan has started asserting the need of a UCC in the state with the implementation of the PESA Act around one-and-a-half months ago.
“I am in favour of the argument that the time has come for a Uniform Civil Code to be implemented in India. Why should anyone marry more than one person? Why should there be two Constitutions in one country? There should only be one,” Chouhan stated a week ago while addressing a gathering in Barwani district.
“I am forming a committee in Madhya Pradesh for the implementation of Uniform Civil Code. If one has the right to have only one wife, there should only be one,” Chouhan added.
The BJP is pushing for the UCC by citing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s statement on this subject made in 1950, which read, “State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code.”
In an exclusive discussion with IANS on this issue, Madhya Pradesh Home and Law Minister Narottam Mishra said: “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had suggested a Uniform Civil Code, but the Congress’ politics of appeasement kept the matter in cold storage despite being in power for over 70 years. The time has come when we need to progress with Ek Vidhan, Ek Samvidhan aur Ek Rashtra (one legislation, one constitution and one nation).”
When asked about the Congress accusing the BJP of making UCC an issue when elections are getting closer in the state, Mishra replied, “The Congress has always used appeasement tactics for political gain. The BJP has its clear agenda and that is ‘the nation first’.
“Be it the decision to abrogate Article 370, criminalising triple talaq, Citizenship (Amendment) Act or any other progressive steps taken under the leadership of PM Modi, the Congress has found only politics in it because they have always done politics of appeasement.”
Mishra challenged Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath to make his stance clear on the UCC. “The BJP has made its view clear and I would appeal to Kamal Nath that he should also make his stance clear on it.”
Congress MLA Ashok Matkole told IANS: “It would be better if the government introduces a common civil code-like system in education and health.”
“Our democracy gives citizens the right to cherish religious freedom and if anything goes wrong, we have separate laws to handle the situation. You can make people aware that they should not have multiple wives, but you cannot impose them.”