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Start a dialogue on uniform civil code: Experts

New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Legal experts believe the Centre should start a dialogue on the measures to introduce the uniform civil code (UCC), after the Supreme Court in a recent judgment batted for it as a major step to streamline the legal system.

The Supreme Court’s observations supporting the UCC have come in the backdrop of abolition of triple talaq and abrogation of Article 370 and 35A.

A section of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are demanding the enactment of the UCC as a next big legal measure. But a year ago, the Law Commission, an executive body under the Centre with a mandate to reform law, termed it neither necessary nor desirable.

BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay has filed a petition on the issue in the Delhi High Court.

Rakesh Dwivedi, senior advocate and Constitution expert, said, “The real issue is whether religion can be granted the elasticity to envelop personal law relating to marriage and succession? Answer given by the Constitution is no.”

He said it should be the uniform civil code rather than the uniform religion code and cited all marriages should be registered and inheritance should be equally shared without gender discrimination.

“Of course, in seeking uniformity of “civil”, the UCC ought not to ride roughshod over linguistic and cultural diversity or the different ways of life. The UCC must look at a civil code that eliminates all subjugation, and all negatives”, he said.

Justice Deepak Gupta in a judgement said, “Though Hindu laws were codified in 1956, there has been no attempt to frame a uniform civil code applicable to all citizens of the country despite exhortations.” The court identified Goa, as a shining example, which has a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all, regardless of religion, except while protecting certain limited rights.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh said, reforms should be introduced in the society to weed out regressive practices from the legal system. “If a religion treats women as only half of a male, then start a process to get these practices out of the system. The government should begin a dialogue at least on introducing the UCC.

“To begin with, the process should be consultative. The apex court has already some observations on the issue. Now, it’s the turn for the government to act,” said Singh.

The Law Commission in a consultation paper in 2018 observed, there was absence of consensus on the UCC, and the Commission underlined the need to eradicate discrimination.

“This way, some of the differences within personal laws, which are meaningful, can be preserved and inequality weeded out to the greatest extent possible without absolute uniformity,” said the Commission.




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