In front of the Supreme Court, the Centre pitches a Uniform Civil Code as an affront to the nation’s unity

According to the Constitution, the State is required to have a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for its citizens and that following different property and matrimonial laws by people from different religions and denominations is an “affront to the nation’s unity”. According to the Centre, the matter will now be considered by the 22nd Law Commission.

This statement was made in the Center’s response to petitions filed in the apex court seeking uniformity in divorce, succession and inheritance laws, as well as adoption and guardianship laws, regardless of gender or religious affiliation.

It has been stated that “Part IV of the Constitution of India deals with Directive Principles of State Policy and creates an obligation for the State to secure for citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the country.”

As stated in its response, filed on October 13, the Centre states that the expression Uniform Civil Code is used to refer to the field of personal law pertaining to marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody, and guardianship of children. The transfer of inheritance and succession, as well as adoption.” Specifically, Article 44 is intended to strengthen the object of “Secular Democratic Republic” as defined in the Constitution’s Preamble.

As stated in the government’s response, “This provision is intended to facilitate the integration of India by bringing communities on a common platform on matters that are currently governed by diverse personal laws.” According to this article [44], there will be a common law in matters of inheritance, property rights, maintenance and succession. Religion is excluded from social relations and personal law under Article 44.”

There was a statement in the article that stated, “Citizens of different religions and denominations follow different laws regarding property and marriage, which affronts the unity of the nation.”

The Centre stated that “in view of the importance of the subject matter and the sensitivity involved, which requires in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities”, it had requested that the Law Commission of India examine various issues relating to the Uniform Civil Code and make recommendations in this regard.”

As a result, the 21st Law Commission examined a number of issues, accepted input from various stakeholders, and, on August 31, 2018, uploaded a consultation paper titled ‘Reform of family law’ on its website for further discussion and deliberation.

As noted in the government’s response, the 21st Commission’s term ended on August 31, 2018, and the 22nd Commission was constituted. A statement was issued stating that the 22nd Law Commission will consider the “subject matter once the chairman and members of the Commission have been appointed”. Moreover, the government will examine the report “in consultation” with various stakeholders once the Commission has submitted it.

According to the government, however, no directions can be issued to the Legislature regarding enacting any particular legislation. It is a matter of policy that the people’s elected representatives should decide. In its reply affidavit, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay requested dismissal of the petitions filed by her.

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