JD(U) questions Law Comm over Uniform Civil Code issue

RSTV Bureau
FILE: New Delhi: Ghulam Nabi Azad with senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav at Parliament. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: Ghulam Nabi Azad with senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav at Parliament.
Photo – PTI

JD(U) leader and senior politician Sharad Yadav on Friday raised questions on the Law Commission for initiating consultation on the Uniform Civil Code, saying it was “beyond its mandate” as the Constitution provided for such a step only when there is a consensus on the issue. Law Commission has been seeking views of several stakeholders on the Uniform Civil Code.

Earlier JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too had written to the chairman of Law Commission conveying his government’s inability to form an opinion on the Uniform Civil Code.

Raising the matter in Rajya Sabha through a notice under rule 267, Sharad Yadav contended that the Constitution guarantees religious freedom and allows citizens to follow traditions and practices. The Constitution provides for moving towards UCC only when there is a consensus and unanimity, Yadav said.

“The Law Commission is going beyond its mandate,” he said, adding that consent of all must be taken before initiating such a consultation.

Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government and others should refrain from joining the issue as assembly elections were on in five states and UCC can be turned into an emotive agenda.

As MoS Parliamentary Affiars Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi rose to respond to Yadav, Azad urged the government not to make any statement as otherwise the opposition parties would also have to join the issue.

Naqvi however went on to state that no step was being taken contrary to Constitution.

FILE: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference in Patna. Photo - PTI

FILE: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference in Patna.
Photo – PTI

Earlier, Nitish Kumar had written to the chairman of Law Commission Justice BS Chauhan, citing 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 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.

Kumar too had 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 had written in his letter.

(With inputs from the PTI)