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Uniform Civil Code: ‘Rigid’ Timeframe Not Possible, Says Centre

The subject matter and sensitivity involved in Uniform Civil Code, requires in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities.

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said it will take time to implement uniform civil code. (PTI File Image)

New Delhi: The Central government has expressed its concerns about the timeframe for implementing a uniform civil code in the country on Thursday. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Rajya Sabha said that government needs to conduct in-depth studies to implement a uniform civil code.

In a written response to a question on whether the government has any plan to implement uniform civil code in the country “any time soon”, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said Article 44 of the Constitution provides that the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

“In view of the importance of the subject matter and sensitivity involved, and it also requires in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities, the government requested the Law Commission of India to undertake examination of various issues relating to uniform civil code and to make recommendation thereof,” the minister said.

“Hence, it may not be possible to lay down any rigid time frame in the matter,” he said.

The left parties have been opposing the implementation of a uniform civil code saying that it would harm the communal harmony of the country. On July 25, CPI (M) Rajya Sabha MP, Elamaram Kareem, CPI(M) MP Dr V. Sivadasan and CPI MP Binoy Viswam had given notice under Rule 67 opposing the introduction of Private Member Bill ‘The Uniform Civil Code in India Bill’.

“The expedition of the Uniform Civil Code is really a difficult one as this discussion in India began during the freedom struggle. Using uniform civil code in a country like India where people with several faiths beliefs and customs and practices vary from place to place and religion to religion. In such a situation, imposing a uniform civil code can raise apprehensions. So, we believe that it needs a lot of preparation on ground level,” Binoy Viswam had said.

However, the judiciary has been pro-bill in order to bring homogenous laws for all Indian citizens. On July 9, the Delhi high court has backed the need for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) observing that there is the need for a Code – ‘common to all’ in the country and had asked the central government to take the necessary steps in this matter.

“In modern Indian society, which is gradually becoming homogenous, the traditional barriers of religion, community and caste are slowly dissipating,” the HC said. “The hope expressed in Article 44 of the Constitution that the State shall secure for its citizens Uniform Civil Code ought not to remain a mere hope,” a bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh said, adding that the need for a Uniform Civil Code as envisioned under Article 44, has been reiterated from time to time by the Supreme Court.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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