The debate over Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has taken a new turn now with the Law Commission of India entering the arena once again calling for public opinion in the matter.
In its official website lawcommissionofindia.nic.in
, its chairman, Dr. Justice B.S.Chauhan, has officially called for views from the general public in the matter. In a public notice titled “Appeal”, Justice Chauhan called for opinion of all “concerned” to “engage” with the commission on the “comprehensive exercise of revision and reforms of family laws” as Article 44 of the Constitution of India stipulates that the State “shall” endeavour to provide a common civil code for its citizens throughout the territory of India.
An elaborate questionnaire is also attached with this “Appeal,” but what is curious is that perhaps for the first time, apart from divorce, maintenance, inheritance and other common things, even marriage is a column in which opinions have been called for.
So far, the general understanding has been that a person may marry according to his or her own customs and rites but the matters of divorce, maintenance, custody of children, inheritance and things common to these areas would be codified. So a special column is made for it as one cannot be compelled to marry in a particular manner. Say, for example, a tribal person cannot be compelled to marry under the special marriage act or Hindu Marriage Act or a Hindu cannot be compelled to perform Nikah and a Muslim the sapatapati (the seven sacred steps). But now even on this aspect of “Marriage” opinions have been called for by the Law Commission, the apex Government body which submits various reports relating to law, reforms and other legal aspects to the government.
In column 2 of the questionnaire annexed with the “Appeal”, the Commission, as the very first point, asked for the opinion whether the proposed uniform civil code should include all the aspects. Among the subjects mentioned figure marriage as the first subject. Then it comes to divorce, maintenance, adoption and guardianship, inheritance etc.
It also says that “family law reforms has to view women’s rights as an end to itself rather than a matter of constitutional provisions, religious rights and political debate alone”.
It says the opinions by any member of public could be sent by post to Hindustan Times Building, 14th Floor, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi where the Law Commission functions from now after shifting from the government-owned Shastri Bhawan or by e-mail to its official e-mail id firstname.lastname@example.org within 45 days
of the publication in its official website which is dated October 7, 2016.
So folks get ready to get charged and bombard the mailbox with emails or posts at the 14th floor of the Hindustan Times Building at the Capital’s Kasturba Gandhi Marg. For, the Commission has stated that it “hopes to begin a healthy conversation about the viability of UCC and will focus on family laws of all religions and the diversity of customary practices to address social injustice rather than the plurality of laws”.