Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has written to the chairman of Law Commission conveying his government’s inability to form an opinion on the Uniform Civil Code. He cited the absence of any specific or concrete information about its contours and the lack of consensus among religious groups on it.
The issue of common civil code has attracted a sharp debate off-late with some Muslim religious organisations raising questions on the move to seek opinions on the subject.
The state cabinet had, on January 10, given its nod to the Law Department’s rejoinder/opinion on UCC. The government had also refrained from giving its reply to the Law Commission stating that the structure of the questionnaire was forcing it to reply in a specific manner.
“The details of the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) have not been shared so far with the stakeholders for their comments. In the absence of any specific or concrete information about the contours of the UCC proposed by the central government, it will not be possible to form any opinion on the same,” Kumar wrote in his letter.
He sent the letter to Law Commission Chairman Justice BS Chauhan in response to the commission seeking the state government’s reply/opinion on the UCC.
The Bihar government also expressed its inability in giving its reply to the commission’s questionnaire which, it maintained, was framed in a particular manner to seek specific answers.
“It seems that the questions have been framed in such a manner so as to force the respondent to reply in a specific way. These are leading questions with a limited number of choices given as probable answers and thus, denying the respondent enough scope to frame his own independent replies,” Kumar wrote in his letter.
Suggesting that the commission should not “hasten” the implementation of the UCC, the chief minister said, “Ours is a nation based on a delicate balance in respect of laws and governing principles for different religions and ethnic groups”.
“In any case, imposition of the UCC without forming a consensus among the various religious groups, especially the minorities, will create a situation of social discord and lead to erosion of faith in the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.”
Kumar emphasised on forming consensus among all the stakeholders before the code was implemented.
Though Article 44 of the Constitution says that the state shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a UCC, but “the makers of the Constitution had thought of a UCC as something which may be feasible in the long run with consensus of all the stakeholders”, Nitish Kumar wrote.
(With inputs from the PTI)