MP introduces UCC bill amid protests; Oppn calls it ‘testing the waters’

In Rajya Sabha, BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena introduced a private member’s bill seeking the creation of a committee to draft and implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). However, members of Opposition parties, like the Congress, TMC, DMK, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, IUML, MDMK and RJD, lodged strong protests.

Despite Meena’s Uniform Civil Code in India Bill 2020 being listed at least six times in the past, it’s never been introduced because of objections raised by the Opposition and Treasury intervention. Manoj Jha, RJD MP, said he didn’t know what had changed.

Piyush Goyal said he was disappointed by some comments made by opposition MPs against the bill, which he said is a member’s “legitimate right”. It should be debated in the House, Goyal said.

Jagdeep Dhankhar called for the division after some Opposition MPs demanded it, and the motion was passed with 63 votes in favour and 23 against. There were several Opposition MPs who demanded it is withdrawn before that.

As one of the strongest voices against the Bill, MDMK leader Vaiko said the BJP was implementing the RSS agenda. “We’re tearing the country apart.” “Minorities are terribly hurt,” he said.

According to Abdul Wahab of the IUML, the Bill is contrary to the interests of India. It cannot be implemented in India regardless of the majority or the force,” he stated. Five members of the CPI(M) and one member of the CPI opposed the introduction of the bill, asserting that the country’s unity and diversity were at stake.

Based on the list of businesses, the Bill seeks to establish a National Inspection and Investigation Committee to prepare the Uniform Civil Code and ensure that it is implemented throughout the Indian territory, as well as to address any matters related to or incidental to the Code.

CPI(M) member John Brittas stated that the 21st Law Commission had concluded that an UCC was not necessary or desirable in its report. During his remarks, he stressed that legislation should not be used to “create polarization in society”.

As the Treasury benches always harp on the theme of sabka saath, sab ka vikas, whatever they do is contrary to the spirit of the slogan they always invoke,” he said. In a statement, his party colleague A A Rahim accused the BJP of using the UCC for political purposes.

Ramgopal Yadav, an MP from the SP, believes that the proposed legislation contradicts both Article 26B and Article 29(1) of the Constitution, which allow people to “manage their own affairs in matters of religion” as well as to preserve distinct languages, scripts, and cultures.

The DMK’s Tiruchi Siva has also said that the Bill may open a “Pandora’s box”. There has been a listing of the same bill many times before, and on request it has not been introduced. The same thing happened today, but there was a bitter experience of breach of trust,” he said.

L Hanumanthaiah, Jebi Mather Hisham, and Imran Pratapgarhi were among the Congress Members who opposed the Bill. It is a dangerous thing in a democracy to have a brute majority. As we have seen throughout the world, extreme rightists and extreme leftists can pose a threat to a democracy,” Hanumanthaiah noted.

Jawhar Sircar, a TMC member, described the Bill as “unconstitutional, unethical, and antisecular”. An ex-politician alleged that a “indulgent government is testing the waters in a very dangerous game by introducing a private member’s bill.”

The Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had told the Lok Sabha in response to Janardan Singh Sigriwal of the BJP and Adoor Prakash of the Congress that there were some writ petitions pending in the Supreme Court regarding UCC in July. Since the matter is under trial, no decision has been made regarding the implementation of UCC in the country.”

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