UCC: After Law Panel Questionnaire, Now A National Competition On Model Code Drafting

UCC: After Law Panel Questionnaire, Now A National Competition On Model Code Drafting

Mar Gregorios College of Law, Thiruvananthapuram in association with Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training (MILAT) founded by Dr. N R Madhava Menon,  noted legal educator, has launched  the first ever ‘law reform competition’ for law colleges across the country on drafting of a model uniform civil code.

As per the 'rules and procedure for participation' issued by the college, the registration of participants will be open for one month between February 15 to March 15, 2017.

The duration of the competition for law students is eight months from 15th February to 30th September, 2017 and registration is open to law colleges/law universities which are to form a team comprising of 20 students.

The teams are to select any one aspect of the proposed UCC like marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption, custody and guardianship,, inheritance or succession for study, research and reform.

Each college can enter only one team and select only one topic for competition.

They have to then study in depth the existing law on the selected subject in different personal laws as

codified in legislation on expounded in authorititative texts and their judicial interpretations.

For this purpose the teams may prepare codified versions of the existing law among muslims, hindus Christians and others separately for reference and for identifying areas of conflict among different laws as well as incompatibility if any with the constitution and human rights instruments.

Then they are to gather views, experiences and perceptions of the community affected by the law in practice and whether and if so, why they consider it unfair or unjust.

A high-powered jury comprising of one retired Supreme Court judge, one eminent legal educator and a distinguished social scientist will adjudge the reports and declare the winners.

The five top winners will be given monetary  awards besides other prizes. The first prize will be Rs one lakh and four other prizes of Rs 25,000 each.

One set of the prize winning reports will be presented to the President and the Prime Minister

Law students who think beyond narrow identities are equipped to contribute to policy development and can make an attempt to produce a draft incorporating the views of different communities by incorporating constitutional values of secularism and religious freedom. Only if a draft is in public domain can people understand what the UCC is all about and whether it is acceptable or not. Hence the first national law reform competition on drafting a uniform civil code for India from the legal academician” said the brochure released by the college on the competition.

It is to be noted that following a reference from the Central government, the Law Commission had issued a questionnaire after the Law Ministry on July 2, 2016 asked it to examine in detail all issues pertaining to the code and submit a report to the government. Article 44 of the Constitution says implementation of UCC is the duty of the state. At present there are different laws governing these aspects for different communities in India.

Laws governing inheritance or divorce among Hindus are different from those pertaining to Muslims or Christians. The demand for a uniform civil code essentially means unifying all these personal laws to have one set of secular laws dealing with these aspects that will apply to all citizens of India irrespective of the community they belong to.