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Parliamentary panel head Sushil Modi advocates keeping tribals out of UCC ambit, Oppn questions timing: Source

Some Opposition members, present at the panel meeting, questioned the Law Commission's timing of initiating consultations with the stakeholders regarding the UCC, source said. Congress, DMK were among those members who linked the UCC pitch to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick New Delhi Published on: July 03, 2023 20:32 IST
Parliament
Image Source : PTI Parliamentary Panel holds consultations on UCC

UCC consultations: Parliamentary panel on law chairman and BJP MP Sushil Modi on Monday (July 3) pressed on keeping the tribals, including those in the Northeast, out of the ambit of the Uniform Civil Code, which has sparked a debate in the country, a source said.

Some Opposition members, present at the panel meeting, questioned the Law Commission's timing of initiating consultations with the stakeholders regarding the UCC, it added. Congress, DMK were among those members who attached the link behind the UCC pitch to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the source said.

The first parliamentary standing committee meeting was held today after the law panel initiated the consultation process on the UCC, to listen to the opinions of the representatives of the law panel and legal affairs and legislative departments of the law ministry on the consultation process.

The Law Commission had issued a public notice last month inviting suggestions and views from the stakeholders on the UCC under the "Review of Personal Laws" subject.

What did the Opposition say?

Source said that Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and MP Sanjay Raut raised questions over the timing of the consultations whereas Congress MP Vivek Tankha and DMK MP P Wilson submitted separate written statements, asserting that there was no need to have new consultations on the emotive issue.

Tankha, in his letter, reminded the law commission of its earlier view that providing a uniform civil code was "neither necessary nor desirable at this stage".

The law commission was represented in the meeting by its member-secretary K Biswal.

Sushil Modi in his comments pitched for keeping tribals out of the ambit of any proposed UCC and noted that all laws have exceptions.

“It was also pointed out in the meeting that the central laws are not applicable in some North Eastern states without their concurrence,” source said.

BJP's Mahesh Jethmalani cited the debates in the constituent assembly to state that the UCC was always considered imperative.

UCC Bill in Monsoon Session of Parliament?

According to source, there are thin possibilities of the introduction of a Bill on UCC in the upcoming Monsoon Session of the Parliament starting July 20.

In a presentation during the meeting, law commission officials said 19 lakh suggestions have been received so far in response to its public notice on June 14. The exercise will continue till July 13.

Source said 17 out of 31 members of the panel attended the meeting.

Uniform Civil Code is aimed at replacing personal laws based on religions, customs, and traditions with one common law for everyone irrespective of religion, caste, creed, sexual orientation, and gender. Personal laws and laws related to inheritance, adoption and succession are likely to be covered by a common code.

Implementation of a UCC has been part of BJP election manifestos and Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing BJP workers in Bhopal last month made a strong push for it, asking how can the country function with dual laws that govern personal matters, and accused the Opposition of using the UCC issue to "mislead and provoke" the Muslim community.

Uttarakhand is already in the process of implementing its common code.

Opposition parties, however, had attacked the prime minister for his comments on the UCC with the Congress saying he was making such remarks only to divert attention from real issues such as unemployment and the Manipur violence.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi asked whether the country's pluralism would be "snatched away" in the name of UCC.

In its consultation paper issued on August 31, 2018, the 21st Law Commission headed by Justice B S Chauhan (retd) said while the diversity of Indian culture can and should be celebrated, specific groups or weaker sections of the society must not be "dis-privileged" in the process.

It said the Commission dealt with laws that are discriminatory rather than providing a uniform civil code "which is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage".

The consultation paper noted that 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.

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | BJP's Meghalaya ally says 'UCC against idea of India'

ALSO READ | Why are most Opposition parties against implementation of UCC? Explained in 5 points

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