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Fresh Consultations On Uniform Civil Code To Be Held After Various Court Orders On Matter

On June 14, the Law Commission initiated a fresh consultation process on the UCC by seeking views from stakeholders, including public and recognised religious organisations, on the politically sensitive issue

Muslim women (Representative image)
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The government on Thursday said the Law Commission initiated fresh consultations on the issue of uniform civil code due to the "relevance and importance" of the subject and various court orders on the matter. 

In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said the 21st Law Commission had issued a consultation paper on "Reform of Family Law" on August 31, 2018. However, it had not submitted a report on the subject, he noted.

"Since more than four years have lapsed from the date of issuance of the said consultation paper, the 22nd Law Commission (the present panel) decided to solicit views and ideas of the public at large and religious organisations on June 14, 2023, bearing in mind the relevance and importance of the subject matter and also various court orders on the subject of uniform civil code," he said.

Responding to another question on modalities of the UCC, Meghwal said since the law panel is in process of holding consultations at this stage, "the question of modalities does not accrue at this stage". Last week, the law panel had extended the deadline for the public to send their views on uniform civil code till July 28, saying the decision was taken following an overwhelming response and numerous requests seeking more time for submitting suggestions.

On June 14, the Law Commission initiated a fresh consultation process on the UCC by seeking views from stakeholders, including public and recognised religious organisations, on the politically sensitive issue. Earlier, the 21st Law Commission, the term of which ended in August 2018, examined the issue and solicited the views of all stakeholders on two occasions. Subsequently, a consultation paper on "Reforms of Family Law" was issued in August 2018.  

"Since more than three years have lapsed from the date of issuance of the said consultation paper, bearing in mind the relevance and importance of the subject and also the various court orders on the subject, the 22nd Law Commission of India considered it expedient to deliberate afresh over the subject," the panel had said in a public notice.  

Appearing before a parliamentary committee earlier this month, representatives of the law panel had defended the fresh consultation exercise, noting that the preceding commission had brought out its suggestions in 2018 and its term had also come to an end. That is why, a fresh initiative has been started which is essentially "informational", they had said.

In its consultation paper issued on August 31, 2018, the previous Law Commission headed by Justice B S Chauhan (retd) said while the diversity of Indian culture can and should be celebrated, specific groups or weaker sections of the society must not be "disprivileged" in the process.                                                                                            It said the commission dealt with laws that are discriminatory rather than providing a uniform civil code "which is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage".

In short, UCC means having a common law for all citizens of the country that is not based on religion. Personal laws and laws related to inheritance, adoption and succession are likely to be covered by a common code. Implementation of the common code has been part of the BJP's election manifestos. Uttarakhand is set to come out with its own UCC in the coming days.

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