Monday, December 4, 2023

Majoritarian morality must not supersede personal laws, religious freedom, minority rights: AIMPLB

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All India Muslim Personal Law Board has filed its objections to the Law Commission’s notice on Uniform Civil Code.

“Majoritarian morality must not supersede personal laws, religious freedom and minority rights in the name of a code which remains an enigma,” the Board said.

“Our response to the Law Commission on UCC is based on 5 points,” said Dr. SQR Ilyas, spokesperson of AIMPLB, “which includes 1) Preliminary Issue, 2) Response and Report of 21s Law Commission, 3) Uniform Civil Code, 4) Existing Civil Laws, 5 Conclusion.”

“What is a Uniform Civil Code? The answer seems simple but is entrenched with complexities. These complexities were realised by the Constituent Assembly back in 1949 when Uniform Civil Code was debated. A single day debate witnessed strong opposition from the Muslim community. It is relevant to remember the clarification of Dr. Ambedkar at the end of the debate, ‘It is perfectly possible that the future parliament may make a provision by way of making a beginning that the Code shall apply only to those who make a declaration that they are prepared to be bound by it, so that in the initial stage the application of the Code may be purely voluntary,’” read the representation by AIMPLB.

“The most crucial document of our nation, the Constitution of India, is itself not uniform in nature, prudently and with the intention to keep the country united. Different treatment, accommodation, adjustment is the nature of our Constitution. Different territories of the nation have been given different treatments. Different communities have been made entitled to different rights. Different religions have been given different accommodations,” the document stated.

It went on to say: “Another premise is based on questioning the bases of the celebration of the idea of uniformity in itself…Mere projection of ‘uniformity’ is not a valid ground for uprooting established systems of laws governing personal matters of different religious communities when even the established general and supposedly uniform laws are not entirely uniform in nature. The Goa Civil Code, as detailed out, is packed with diversity; even the Constitution of India has different provisions for different classes of persons and also for different regions. Even Code of Civil Procedure does not apply uniformly in the entire territory of India. Even the Hindu Marriage Act, specifically framed to regulate the personal laws of one community, does not apply uniformly on all the Hindus in India, as stated already above. The Special Marriage Act takes the parties to the Hindu Succession Act and dilutes customary laws qua prohibited degrees of marriage. These examples demonstrate just the tip of the iceberg. Majoritarian morality must not supersede personal laws, religious freedom, and minority rightsin thename of acode whichremains an enigma.”

It concludes: “After the publication of the Consultation report prepared by the 21st Law Commission, the Government has been completely silent on whether it has accepted the same either as a whole or in part. Nor has the Government indicated what steps it has taken to interpret the findings of the 21st Law Commission. If it had rejected the whole or some findings of the 21st Law Commission, it has not disclosed its reason for such rejection.”

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