This Article is From Jun 28, 2023

Muslim Law Board's Late-Night Meet After PM's Push For Uniform Civil Code

The Muslim body has decided to submit its views to the Law Commission, taking into account the points made by lawyers and experts.

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's strong pitch for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, India's top Muslim body, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, held an emergency meeting last night.

Prime Minister Modi, addressing BJP workers in Bhopal yesterday, said two laws in the same country would not work, asserting that the Constitution mentions equal rights for all citizens and even Supreme Court rulings had called for uniform laws.

Muslims, he said, were being instigated by parties prone to vote-bank politics, adding that the BJP had decided it would not adopt the path of appeasement.

The Muslim law board's meeting was held virtually and lasted for about three hours. They discussed the legal aspects of the UCC in the context of PM Modi's remarks, which are seen to prioritise an agenda that has always been part of BJP manifestos.

The Muslim body has decided to submit its views to the Law Commission, taking into account the points made by lawyers and experts.  

The Law Commission launched a fresh consultation process on a Uniform Civil Code, seeking views from various stakeholders amid reports that the government plans to bring a draft bill soon.

A Uniform Civil Code refers to a set of overarching laws that apply to everyone in the country and replaces religion-based personal laws, rules of inheritance, adoption and succession. Article 44 of the Constitution calls upon the State to aim for a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

In September last year, a private member's Bill that seeks to provide for a panel to prepare a Uniform Civil Code was introduced in Rajya Sabha in the face of great resistance from opposition parties. In the past, although similar bills were listed for introduction, they were not moved in the Upper House.

PM Modi's comments yesterday revived focus on the long-debated subject.

"You tell me, in a home, how can there be one law for one member and another law for another member? Will that home be able to function? Then how will the country be able to function with such a dual system? We have to remember that even in the Constitution, there is a mention of equal rights for all," the Prime Minister said.

"These people (opposition) level allegations against us but the reality is that they chant Musalman, Musalman. Had they really been (working) in the interests of Muslims, then Muslim families would not have been lagging in education and jobs," he added.

The comments sparked strong reactions from opposition parties, who accused the BJP of trying to crush the country's pluralism and diversity and diverting focus from pressing worries like poverty, unemployment and price rise.

Speaking to NDTV, a key Muslim Law Board member said the Prime Minister has singled out Muslims in his speech over the Uniform Civil Code.

"He has targeted Muslims in his speech. This is misleading. The law is a national concern. All sections of societies need reforms, " Niyaz Farooqui said.

"Equity is more important than equality. We must ensure that women don't lose their rights amid the uniformity push," he said.