New Delhi: The Uniform Civil Code was not only unacceptable to Muslims but also to other minorities and diverse groups among the majority community including tribals, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has said in a statement, decrying recent moves by Uttarakhand and poll-bound Gujarat to impose uniformity in personal laws.
In the statement issued Monday, AIMPLB general secretary Khalid Saifullah Rehmani said issues like the UCC come up during elections “to hide the failures of governance”.
He added that fundamental rights embodied the spirit of the Constitution and guaranteed the right to individuals to follow their chosen religion, worship accordingly and also to make efforts for its spread. That is why personal laws are protected in law, he said.
He compared the efforts to implement UCC to prohibition, which, he pointed out, was also a part of the directive principles of state policy but not made into a law in the country.
“Social and family laws define the identity of various groups. If their very identity is called into question that cannot be tolerated. Various groups following their personal laws in this country predates the coming of the English. The English too allowed that situation to continue and after independence for years there was no impediment in that. If people of the country wanted a common civil code then the Special Marriage Act would have been the chosen personal law of the country. But that has not happened. On the other hand, even now, citizens have the right to choose between their own personal laws and the Special Marriage Act,” Rehmani said in his statement.
Rehmani’s remarks come days after the Gujarat government announced that it had formed a committee to look into the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in the state. The state goes into Assembly elections later this year.
The UCC was also promised earlier in the year, just before Uttarakhand went to polls. Following the elections, a committee was formed to look into it
“UCC was aimed at practices such as polyandry”
Rehmani said that a forceful implementation of UCC would affect the unity and brotherhood of the country. He claimed the inclusion of UCC in the directive principles of state policy was principally aimed at tribal practices that have implications for culture and health. He cited the example of polyandry as one of the practices that UCC aimed to end.
“All India Muslim Personal Law Board has already through people and religious organisations in Uttarakhand, made it known to the government there that UCC is not acceptable and the board along with other minority organisations would oppose it at the national level. We are already in touch with various Sikh, Christian and Buddhist bodies,” he said.
He added: “Issues like UCC come up during elections because governments use that to hide their own failures. They create an atmosphere of hatred. So we appeal to the government to concentrate on the real issues of the country, not on such pointless issues.”
Also read: Uniform Civil Code is as old as British rule. It can help in better implementation of law