Terming the Uniform Civil Code bill tabled in Uttarakhand Assembly to be a violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said the code forces the Muslims to follow a different religion and culture.
He further said it can’t be called uniform if the tribals are excluded from the code.
“There are other constitutional and legal issues. Why have tribals been excluded? Can it be uniform if one community is exempt,” he said.
Owaisi said the Uniform Civil Code forces the Muslims to follow a different religion and culture.
“Next, there is the question of fundamental rights. I have a right to practice my religion and culture, this Bill forces me to follow a different religion and culture. In our religion, inheritance and marriage are part of religious practice, it is a violation of Articles 25 & 29 to force us to follow a different system,” he said.
Owaisi said the bill can only be enacted by the Parliament as it contradicts the Shariah Act, Hindu Marriage Act, SMA, ISA.
“There is the constitutional issue of UCC. Modi govt in SC said that UCC can only be enacted by Parliament. This Bill contradicts central laws like Shariah Act, Hindu Marriage Act, SMA, ISA, etc. Without presidential assent, how will this law work?”
” A voluntary UCC already exists in the form of SMA, ISA, JJA, DVA, etc. Why make it mandatory when Ambedkar himself didn’t call it mandatory?,” he said.
It is important to note that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised the Uniform Civil Code bill during the 2022 Assembly elections in the state. After becoming a law, the bill will replace the personal religious laws that govern marriage, divorce, inheritance etc.
New rules in the Uniform Civil Code
The UCC bill proposes a common law on marriage, divorce, land, property, and inheritance for all citizens irrespective of their religion in the state, excluding the Scheduled Tribes. It has mandated the registration of live-in relationships. It talks about giving legitimacy to children born of live-in relationships. Without naming, the proposed bill effectively bans polygamy and ‘halala’ practised among a section of Muslims. Marriages, though, can be solemnised through separate rituals, like saptapadi, nikah and anand karaj, followed by different communities.
Muslim bodies against the Uniform Civil Code
All India Muslim Personal Law Board has opposed the Uniform Civil Code. According to reports, an executive member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board — Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, said that a few communities would be exempted from it (Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code).
“As far as UCC is concerned, we are of the opinion that uniformity cannot be brought in each and every law and if you exempt any community from this UCC, how can it be called a uniform code?… There was no need for any such uniform civil code. After the draft is presented before the Assembly, our legal team study this and then the further course of action will be decided…,” Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali said.
Reacting to the Uniform Civil Code bill in Uttarakhand Assembly, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) president Maulana Badruddin Ajmal said ‘the bill should be dumped in the dustbin’.
“India is a colourful garden. However beautiful a garden is, if it has just one flower, you will not be able to look at it for long. In India, people of all faiths, culture live. That is our beauty…If anything is done against nature, it won’t continue for long…State Assemblies have to bring something shiny when the government becomes a failure. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma too does this from time to time…They want to please PM Modi as they want to continue as the CM for some time. This Bill should be dumped in the dustbin,” the MP from Dhubri (Assam), said.