Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | December 13, 2014
Taking up a controversial yet core issue of the BJP, the government said Friday it will “initiate” consultations with “stakeholders” to bring in a common civil code “at the earliest”, underlining that the matter is of “utmost importance” because “the Constitution mandates” a uniform code.
Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said: “Article 44 of the Constitution mandates that we should have a common civil code.” Besides, “there are various judgments of the Supreme Court right from the Shah Bano case, Sharda Mudgal case, even in 2003 in Vellimuttam’s case. All these observations made by the Supreme Court say that there needs to be a uniform civil code.”
“I would like to assure the House that we have to move forward on uniform civil code only with absolute clarity on various issues related to it. It is our duty to move forward as it is mandated by the makers of our Constitution. It needs to be implemented, but after wider consultations with stakeholders.”
“We will have to work out the modalities. We will have to identify the issues and take them up inside and outside Parliament. A clear vision will have to be given by the government. We are working on all this. We will certainly come before the House with all those things… We will come up with certain issues which will be placed in the public domain,” he said.
Enforcement of a common civil code, abrogation of Article 370 and construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya form part of the core BJP agenda. The party had included the promise of a common civil code in its election manifesto as well.
“Certainly, this government wants to have more debate on this issue and we should come out with a common civil code, a uniform civil code across the country,” Gowda said.
He said there are “certain issues” which need to be deliberated. A common civil code, he said, would “enhance the status of women and the so-called lower castes because many of the personal laws are biased against them.”
“Because it is a sensitive issue, wider consultations need to be held,” he said, adding “we will initiate it at the earliest.”
The government, he said, will have to keep in mind that there are certain “customary laws” in different states, “especially in the case of the Scheduled Tribes.”
“All those things are to be kept in mind. Some precaution has to be taken with regard to Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, so that there is no conflict with Article 44. So, I am very particular that this needs to be taken up. We will initiate our deliberations and discussions as early as possible. We would like to see that a uniform civil code is there in the country, so that it leaves a very good impression all over the world,” he said- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/will-speak-to-stakeholders-gowda/99/#sthash.8kTi0HW2.dpuf
(2) PTI reported=
Govt to start wider consultations on Uniform Civil Code
Government on Friday said it will move on implementation of the controversial Uniform Civil Code as per the spirit of the Constitution and will start at the earliest the process wider consultations for a consensus.
“I assure the House to move forward on the Uniform Civil Code and it is our duty to implement it…we will move forward as mandated by the Constitution,” Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to a question by Rajeev Shukla (Cong) on whether the country is prepared to have such a code, he said the Government will initiate wider consultation at the “earliest” to evolve a consensus as it will strengthen the status of women.
The Uniform Civil Code covers marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance.
“The code is based on the assumption that the personal laws based on scriptures and customs of each religious community in the country be replaced with a common set governing every citizen in a civilised society,” he said.
Referring to a form of uniform civil code in Goa, which is accepted by all in the state, Gowda said the aim is having a code for the country which is agreed by all.
He, however, made it clear that the code should not be in conflict with Article 25 of the Constitution, which relates to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
Invoking the Article, K Rehman Khan (Cong) raised the issue of scriptures in Quran followed religiously by Muslims and sought to know whether the Code was not in conflict with religious beliefs.
“For this only, I said this is a sensitive issue and we should work out the modalities so as the Code is not in conflict with Article 25,” the Minister added