Reviving the debate on the polarising issue of Uniform Civil Code in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, a public notice was issued by the commission on Wednesday to examine the subject.
“It is strange that the Law Commission is seeking a fresh reference when in its press release it acknowledges that its predecessor, the 21st Law Commission had published a consultation paper on the subject in August 2018. No reasons are given for why the subject is being revisited except for vague references to “the relevance and the importance of the subject and also the various court orders,” said Ramesh in a statement released by Congress.
“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 polarization and diversion from its glaring failures,” the statement added.
In September 2018, the previous (21st) Law Commission, after wide consultations and reviewing 75,000 responses over two years, had produced a ‘consultation paper’ observing that UCC was “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”. It had, however, suggested changes in family and personal laws. The previous commission had said its consultations lacked consensus among stakeholders.
Ramesh further quoted the Modi-govt appointed 21st Law Commission on ‘Consultation Paper on Reform of Family Law’ which said, ‘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.’
“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 added.
Referring to the previous panel’s consultation paper – ‘Reforms of Family Law’ – the 22nd Law Commission, headed by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, former chief justice of Karnataka high court, said, “Since more than three years have lapsed from the date of issuance of the said consultation paper, bearing in mind the relevance and importance of the subject and also the various court orders on the subject, the commission considered it expedient to deliberate afresh over the subject.” While giving a month to all stakeholders to send their responses, the commission said it would also be open to in-person consultation for any individual or organisation.