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PIL seeking Uniform Civil Code dismissed by Delhi High Court

Anisha Aditya
6 Jun 2014 3:15 AM GMT
PIL seeking Uniform Civil Code dismissed by Delhi High Court
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A public interest litigation (PIL) for time-bound implementation of apex court’s direction to provide a uniform civil code applicable throughout the Indian jurisdiction has been dismissed by the High Court of the captial. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw dismissed the plea citing various verdicts of the Supreme Court which stated that the judiciary cannot direct the executive to introduce a particular legislation.

The PIL, submitted by Mool Chand Kucheria, referred to the case of Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India of 1995 adjudicated by the Supreme Court. The said legal suit opined to the then government to "secure for the citizens a uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India" and the execution of it be done in a time-bound manner. He had also sought a direction "for constitution of a committee of religious gurus or experts to see the smooth implementation of the said guidelines".

The high court of Delhi said, "Nevertheless the fact remains that the Supreme Court, in spite of having held so, did not issue any direction as the petitioner is asking us to issue. We, therefore, do not find any ground to entertain this petition which is dismissed."

While disposing the plea, the division bench also notified that the in judgment of Sarla Mudgal, the Supreme Court had observed that "the Government would be well advised to entrust the responsibility to the Law Commission to bring about the comprehensive legislation in keeping with modern day concept of human rights."

In Maharshi Avadesh v. Union of India  , Supreme Court had specifically declined to issue a writ directing the respondents to consider the question of enacting a Common Civil Code for all citizens of India holding that the issue raised being a matter of policy, it was for the Legislature to take effective steps as the Court cannot legislate.

Explaining the Sarala Mudgal Judgment Supreme Court in Lily Thomas Vs. Union of India, it is held that “any direction for the enforcement of Art. 44 of the Constitution could not have been issued by only one of the Judges in Sarla Mudgal's case. In fact, Sarla Mudgal's case was considered by this Court in Ahmedabad Women Action Group v. Union of India and it was held that the question regarding the desirability of enacting a Uniform Civil Code did not directly arise in Sarla Mudgal's case ”.

But in John Vallamattom Vs. Union of India Chief Justice Khare held that “I would like to state that Article 44 provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. The aforesaid provision is based on the premise that there is no necessary connection between religious and personal law in a civilized society. Article 25 of the Constitution confers freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. The aforesaid two provisions viz. Articles 25 and 44 show that the former guarantees religious freedom whereas the latter divests religion from social relations and personal law. It is no matter of doubt that marriage, succession and the like matters of a secular character cannot be brought within the guarantee enshrined under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. Any legislation which brings succession and the like matters of secular character within the ambit of Articles 25 and 26 is a suspect legislation. Although it is doubtful whether the American doctrine of suspect legislation is followed in this country. In Smt. Sarla Mudgal, President, Kalyani and others v. Union of India and others, it was held that marriage, succession and like matters of secular character cannot be brought within the guarantee enshrined under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. It is a matter of regret that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in for framing a common civil code in the country. A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing the contradictions based on ideologies.

Legal News India, Delhi High Court News, Delhi High Court Judgments, Uniform Civil Code, Indian Legal News, Lily Thomas Judgment.

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