The Chairman of the Law Commission of India, Justice BS Chauhan, has said the questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has not been prepared in an attempt to impose the Uniform Civil Code in India, but to look at family laws across all religions, mainly with gender justice in mind.
The questionnaire itself states: “The objective behind this endeavour is to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise the various cultural practices.”
It also states that “family law inter-alia has to view women’s rights as an end in itself rather than a matter of constitutional provisions, religious rights and political debate alone. “
Justice Chauhan told the Indian Express that the commission would ensure that personal laws “in matters of marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance are in keeping with Article 15 (no discrimination based on sex, religion etc) and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution”.
He said the Law Commission was not opposed to the concept of triple talaq as long as it is done as per Shariat over six months, however, the commission was against the concept of “instantaneous and spontaneous talaq”, which is talaq-e-bidat.The constitutional validity of talaq-e- bidat is currently being examined by the apex court and the Centre recently took a stand against the concept of triple talaq and polygamy in an affidavit submitted before the apex court.
The law commission issued the questionnaire on October 7 and the very same day, the Centre filed its affidavit in the Shayara Bano case. This, according to Justice Chauhan, was purely coincidental. The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board had opposed the idea and boycotted the commission’s questionnaire.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier clarified that there is a distinction between UCC and the constitutional validity of triple talaq. He also clarified that the questionnaire is only an academic exercise. He said:“This academic exercise by the Law Commission is only a continuation of the debate in this country ever since Constituent Assembly had expressed the hope that the State would endeavour to have a Uniform Civil Code.”
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.