Uniform Civil Code… the latest of Cong-BJP squabbles

RSTV Bureau

Amit-Shah-Modi-BJP-National-ExecutiveCentre’s move seeking the Law Commission to examine the implementation of Uniform Civil Code has sparked off a political debate between the two main parties – BJP and the Congress. While the ruling BJP welcomed Modi government’s move, the principal opposition party denounced it, even terming the move as “political stuntbazi”.

The Department of Legal Affairs on Friday had asked the Law Commission, a recommendatory body, to submit a report on the issue that has always been high on BJP and the Sangh Parivar’s agenda.

Batting in the favour of Uniform Civil Code, the ruling party said it has been opposed due to vote bank politics despite finding a mention in the Constitution.

“There should be an open debate over it. The Constitution calls for it and those who oppose it only shows their intolerance to the Constitution. We have always advocated it. There should be uniform civil code. It has been opposed due to vote bank politics,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

Even Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda had earlier affirmed of the “wider consultations” to be held with various personal law boards and other stakeholders to evolve a consensus.

New Delhi: Senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi arrives at Patiala house court in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi at Patiala house court in New Delhi. PTI Photo

On the other hand, the Congress party accused the Centre of deliberately raking up the issue in view of the 2017 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. The principal opposition party went to the extent of calling it “cheap politics” of BJP for creating communal polarisation.

Party’s senior spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that when election in a major state advances, divisive atmosphere is sought to be created deliberately and it is “cheap politics of BJP” aimed at polarisation.

Adding that issues like Uniform Civil Code, Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir and building of Ram temple in Ayodhya are raised to create an atmosphere of communal polarisation, he said “they are put on the back burner” once the polls are over.

However, the move assumes significance as the Supreme Court had recently said it would prefer a wider public debate before taking a decision on the constitutional validity of ‘triple talaq’, which many complain is abused by Muslim men to arbitrarily divorce their wives.

The government is likely to inform the Supreme Court of its decision to refer the matter of the common code to the Law Commission when the matter comes up in September.

(With inputs from the PTI)