The Uttarakhand government tabled the Uniform Civil Code Bill in the assembly on Tuesday. Following this, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, said on February 6 that Muslims cannot accept any law that is against the Shariah. He also said that if tribals can be exempted from it then why not the minority community (under religious freedom provisions of the Constitution).
“We cannot accept any law that is against Shariah because a Muslim can compromise with everything, but he or she can never compromise on Shariah and religion,” Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani said in a statement.
Madani said that the Scheduled Tribes have been exempted from the Uniform Civil Code Bill, that has been tabled in Uttarakhand.
He questioned the fact that if Scheduled Tribes can be kept outside the purview of this law under one section of the Constitution, then why can religious freedom not be given to Muslims under Sections 25 and 26 of the Constitution. These sections recognise the fundamental rights of citizens.
Madani claimed, “Religious freedom is guaranteed; thus, the Uniform Civil Code negates fundamental rights.” He asked, “If it is uniform civil code then why this distinction between citizens.” He also said that “our legal team will review the legal aspects of the Bill”, after which a decision will be taken on legal action going forward.
On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government tabled the Uniform Civil Code Bill in the state assembly, the first such move in any state after independence. It could be followed by similar legislation in other BJP-run states.
The small tribal community of the hill state is exempted from the proposed law, which also mandates that live-in relationships must be registered. The Bill proposes that children born of live-in relationships will be considered legitimate and deserted women will be entitled to maintenance from their partners.
The 192-page Uniform Civil Code, Uttarakhand, 2024 bill — coming just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections — ticks off an important item on the BJP’s ideological agenda, which is a common law on marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance for all citizens, irrespective of their religion.
According to Madani, “The question is not about the personal law of Muslims, but about keeping the country’s secular Constitution intact.” He raised the question that when the civil law is not the same in the entire country, then why do they insist on applying a family law throughout the country.
What Is The Uniform Civil Code?
A Uniform Civil Code is conceptualised as a set of laws that govern personal matters, including marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, and succession, for all citizens regardless of religion. The UCC aims to replace the existing diverse personal laws that vary based on religious affiliations.
What Is The Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand 2024 Bill?
The Uttarakhand government had formed a panel – led by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai – to prepare a draft for the UCC in 2022. The panel comprising retired justice Pramod Kohli, social activist Manu Gaur, former Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh, and Vice Chancellor of Doon University, Surekha Dangwal, prepared a draft report of over 740 pages and it has four volumes.
To prepare the report, the panel collected feedback, written and online, held several public forums and 43 public outreach programs, and engaged with over 60,000 people. According to CM Dhami, the UCC Bill is an outcome of public dialogue, deliberation, and suggestions.
Reportedly, the UCC Uttarakhand 2024 Bill includes recommendations such as a complete ban on polygamy and child marriage. According to a report by India Today, some of the key features of the Bill include – equal property rights for sons and daughters, elimination of the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children, equal property rights after death, and inclusion of adopted and biological children.