The government is likely to introduce a Bill to implement the Uniform Civil Code in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament. However, the process may well continue till the Winter Session before it becomes a law.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice under the Chairmanship of BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi has called officials from the Department of Legal Affairs, Legislative Department; and Law Commission of India to get their views regarding the public notice on the Uniform Civil Code on July 3. Earlier, the Law Commission on June 14 invited views from the various stakeholders on the Uniform Civil Code and so far over 8.5 lakh views have been submitted.

What the Constitution says

Part IV of the Indian Constitution prescribes Directive Principles of State Policy. Under this, Article 44 provides Uniform Civil Code for the citizens. “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India,” the article says. A Uniform Civil Code will mean a set of common personal laws for all citizens. As on date there are different personal laws for Hindus and Muslims. Personal law covers property, marriage and divorce, inheritance and succession.

The issue came into focus after the Prime Minister pitched for the code earlier this week. Addressing BJP booth workers in Madhya Pradesh, Modi said that Muslims were being misled in the name of UCC. “These days, people are being provoked by the UCC. You tell me, if there is one law for one person in a home, and another law for another person, can that house function?” he asked.

Indications are that the government may introduce the Bill and then it will be referred to a Parliamentary Committee. The committee could also be joint or select committee. There will be almost a three-month gap between the Monsoon and Winter Sessions of Parliament and there is a possibility that the committee could be given time till the next session. Based on the report, the Bill is likely to undergo changes before being moved for consideration and passage.

For and against

On Friday, the political debate on the code continued. The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena said it supports Balasaheb Thackeray’s vision of “one nation, one law” and appealed to the Centre to hold a discussion on the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the Parliament’s Monsoon Session. It targeted Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, asking if a UCC would affect Hindus or just the Gandhis. The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena was split last year after Shinde revolted against the party leadership and joined hands with the BJP to become the Chief Minister.

The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that the “electoral agenda” of the BJP was behind raking up the issue of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and urged the Centre to withdraw from the move to impose it. In a statement, Vijayan, who is also a senior leader of the CPI(M), said the Centre’s move can only be seen as a plan to implement the “majority communal agenda of ‘one nation, one culture’ by wiping out the cultural diversity of the country”.