Awaiting law panel report on Uniform Civil Code: Centre to Delhi HC

Property and matrimonial laws affront to nation’s unity: Centre

“Citizens belonging to different religious denominations follow different property and matrimonial laws, which is an affront to the nation’s unity,” the Centre told the Delhi High Court while responding to a plea seeking direction to the government to draft a Uniform Civil Code.

The Centre, in an affidavit, also said it was awaiting the report of the Law Commission of India, which is examining various issues relating to the Uniform Civil Code.

The affidavit of the Ministry of Law and Justice came in response to a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who has contended that the government has “failed” to put in place a uniform civil code, as provided under Article 44 of the Constitution.

“The expression ‘Uniform Civil Code’ denotes the field of personal law relating to marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody and guardianship of children, inheritance, succession and adoption,” the ministry said.

It said that Article 44 of the Constitution creates an obligation upon the State to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country and that the purpose behind the Article was to strengthen the object of "Secular Democratic Republic" as enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.

“Article 44 divests religion from social relations and personal law,” the ministry added.

The ministry said, “as and when the report of Law Commission in the matter is received, the Government would examine the same in consultation with the various stakeholders involved in the matter”.

Responding to the plea that has sought a direction against the Union of India to draft a Uniform Civil Code within three months, the ministry said it was against the Constitutional scheme. It added that only the parliament had the sovereign power to enact laws and no outside authority could issue a direction to enact a particular piece of legislation.

The petitioner, Mr. Upadhyay, had argued that Goa has a common civil code since 1965, which applies to all of its residents, and it is the only state to have it as of now.

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