Modi government gearing up to implement UCC before Lok Sabha elections

NewsModi government gearing up to implement UCC before Lok Sabha elections

Is the Modi government gearing up to take a significant step concerning the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections? Sources say “yes”. However, putting this into action is not as simple as it sounds.
Experts familiar with constitutional matters explain that several steps need to be followed before the Uniform Civil Code can become a law. Currently, the 22nd Law Commission has only solicited suggestions on the matter, which will then be reviewed and analyzed. Based on the suggestions received, the Law Commission will prepare a report that will be studied by the government. The bill will be introduced in Parliament based on the Law Commission’s report, and it will require a majority vote in both Houses of Parliament before being sent to the President for final approval. Given that suggestions, reports, and drafts are yet to be prepared, it is premature to assume that the NDA government will introduce the Uniform Civil Code in Parliament.
However, another perspective suggests that the government might not be introducing a new law per se. The definition of the Uniform Civil Code already exists in Article 44 of Part IV of the Constitution. Instead, the government could present a paper that adheres to the Uniform Civil Code after consulting with the Law Commission.
The decision to convene a permanent membership meeting of the Parliament on 3 July is related to gathering the opinions of Members of Parliament on the Uniform Civil Code. Representatives from the Law Commission, Legal Affairs Department, and Legislative Department have been invited to provide their insights. On 14 June, the Law Commission called upon representatives from these three to gather suggestions from the general public regarding the Uniform Civil Code.
As per Constitution experts, the Uniform Civil Code aims to establish a legal framework applicable to all religions. Currently, each religion has its own personal laws governing matters such as marriage, divorce, and property. With the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, cases pertaining to individuals from all religions would be adjudicated based on common civil laws alone. The purpose of the Uniform Civil Code is to streamline laws related to marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, and property rights.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the issue of the Uniform Civil Code in Bhopal, sparking discussions throughout the country. He emphasized the constitutional principle of equal rights for all citizens and highlighted the Supreme Court’s consistent support for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code. PM Modi criticized the exploitation of vote bank politics, stating that efforts to instigate people in the name of the Uniform Civil Code would lead to a dysfunctional system. He questioned the feasibility of running a country with a dual system of laws.
In Muslim-majority countries, Sharia law has traditionally prevailed, derived from religious teachings, practices, and traditions.
However, some amendments have been made in modern times to align this type of law with the European model. The fear of the Uniform Civil Code being used to target Muslims in India is unfounded, as it would apply equally to all religions and sects in the country. The Uniform Civil Code may also impact Hindu traditions and practices, given its applicability across all religions as well. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, and Nigeria have implemented similar laws that apply to all religions without separate laws for specific communities.
In addition, countries such as Israel, Japan, France, and Russia have common civil codes, and some have shared civil or criminal laws. European countries and the United States have secular laws that apply uniformly to all citizens, regardless of their religion.
Based on the above arguments, it can be said that the NDA government is definitely planning to implement the Uniform Civil Code before the Lok Sabha elections, but not in the monsoon session.

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