Govt takes big step towards Implementing uniform Civil Code – A uniform civil code will mean a set of common personal laws for all citizens.
In a far-reaching decision likely to start a heated political debate, the central government has asked the Law Commission to “examine” the issue of implementing the uniform civil code.
This is the first time a government has asked the commission, which has a crucial advisory role on legal reform, to look into the politically controversial issue of a uniform civil code.
A uniform civil code will mean a set of common personal laws for all citizens. Currently, for example, there are different personal laws for Hindus and Muslims. Personal law covers property, marriage and divorce, inheritance and succession.
The political debate on a uniform civil code has been highly charged, and it is often entwined with a debate on secularism.
Those for and against such a code offer differing interpretations of the social and religious impact of a uniform civil code.
Officials familiar with the matter told ET that the law ministry has written to the Law Commission and sought a detailed report on the subject. These officials did not want to be identified. ET has reviewed a copy of the letter sent by the law ministry’s department of legal affairs to the commission.
The letter asks the Law Commission to “examine the matter in relation to uniform civil code and submit a report”. The ministry has also sent documents relating to existing case law and discussions on case law relating to the uniform civil code.
The Law Commission, currently headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, will submit its report after discussions with experts and stakeholders, officials said.
Article 44 of the Directive Principles, enshrined in the Constitution, sets implementation of uniform civil code as the “duty of the State”.
In an interview to ET in January this year, Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda had said that “as far as national integration is concerned, this (uniform civil code) is one of the aspects that we have to take care of “. However, Gowda had added the process will “entail time because of so many personal laws across the country. There are so many other customs and rituals, and emotions attached to the issue. Slowly and steadily we need to put it in public domain”.