Cong slams Modi govt for seeking fresh opinion on UCC; accuse polarisation

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday said the Law Commission’s latest attempt to seek fresh public opinion on a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) represents the Narendra Modi government’s desperation for continuing with its agenda of polarisation and diversion from its failures.

In a statement, Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh said it is strange that the Law Commission is seeking a fresh reference when it acknowledges that its predecessor, the 21st Law Commission, had published a consultation paper on the subject in August 2018.

Ramesh said no reasons have been given by the Law Commission on why the subject is being revisited except for vague references to “the relevance and importance of the subject and also, various court orders”.

“The real reason is that the 21st Law Commission after carrying out a detailed and comprehensive review of the subject observed that it is ‘neither necessary nor desirable at this stage’ to have a Uniform Civil Code.

“This latest attempt represents the Modi government’s desperation for a legitimate justification of its continuing agenda of polarisation and diversion from its glaring failures,” he said.

The Congress leader said in a press note on June 14, the 22nd Law Commission of India notified its intention to examine various aspects of a UCC.

This was being done, the press note clarified, on a reference sent by the Ministry of Law and Justice, Ramesh noted.

He also cited what the 21st Law Commission, appointed by the Modi government itself, had said in paragraph 1.15 of its 182-page “Consultation Paper on Reform of Family Law” submitted on August 31, 2018.

“While diversity of Indian culture can and should be celebrated, specific groups or weaker sections of society must not be dis-privileged in the process. Resolution of this conflict does not mean abolition of all differences. This commission has therefore dealt with laws that are discriminatory rather than providing a uniform civil code, which is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage. Most countries are now moving towards recognition of difference and the mere existence of difference does not imply discrimination, but is indicative of a robust democracy,” Ramesh said, quoting from the report.

The former Union minister said the Law Commission has produced an enviable body of work over the decades on numerous issues of national importance.

“It should be mindful of that legacy and remember that the interests of the nation are distinct from the political ambitions of the BJP,” he said.

The Law Commission on Wednesday said it has decided to look at the need for a UCC afresh and seek the views of various stakeholders, including members of the public and religious organisations.

Earlier, the 21st Law Commission, the term of which ended in August 2018, had examined the issue and solicited the views of all stakeholders on two occasions on the politically sensitive matter of a UCC.