New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday made a pitch for the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and hit out at Opposition parties for allegedly inciting minority communities against it.
PM Modi on Tuesday said India needed a UCC as the country could not run with the dual system of “separate laws for separate communities”. He was addressing booth-level workers of the BJP in Bhopal, an address which clearly signaled his government’s intent on bringing the UCC.
The PM’s statement comes a week after the 22nd Law Commission of India invited the views of the public and “recognized” religious organizations on the UCC within 30 days.
UCC is the idea of having a common code of personal laws for people of all religions. Personal law includes aspects of inheritance, marriage, divorce, child custody, and alimony. However, currently, India’s personal laws are fairly complex and varied, with each religion following its own specific regulations.
Many feel that a common civil code would foster national integration by promoting a sense of unity among diverse religious communities and strengthening the secular fabric of the country. While others say that the issue of a UCC is highly complex and sensitive, given the diversity of religious beliefs and customs in India.
PM Modi’s latest pitch for a UCC for all Indians has sparked speculation that the BJP will try to push through legislation to implement it with an eye on the 2024 general election.
The Constitution of India, under Article 44, states that the state shall endeavor to secure a UCC for its citizens. However, the framers of the Constitution left it to the discretion of the government to implement a UCC, recognizing the sensitivity and complexity of the issue. Over the years, various governments have discussed and debated the implementation of a UCC, but it has remained a contentious and politically sensitive topic.
One of the main concerns raised by opponents of the UCC is the potential impact on minority communities. They argue that imposing a common civil code may dilute the unique rights and protections enjoyed by minority groups and erode their cultural autonomy. Protecting minority rights and preserving their distinct practices is considered crucial in a pluralistic society like India.