SC says no bar on states forming panels on uniform civil codetext_fields
New Delhi: On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to entertain a petition challenging the Gujarat and Uttarakhand governments' formation of committees to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
A bench presided over by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud remarked that the appeal contests the composition of committees formed by Gujarat and Uttarakhand to formulate the UCC.
The court's panel, which included justice P.S. Narasimha, informed the petitioners' attorney that Article 162 shows that a state's executive authority is only as broad as what the legislature has granted it. "The Constitution of the committee cannot be challenged as ultra vires...," said the bench.
The top court noted that the plea filed by Anoop Baranwal and others is devoid of merit. The Chief Justice said, "What is wrong with it? They have only constituted a committee under their executive powers that Article 162 gives..." The petitioners' counsel urged the court to entertain the petition. The bench said, "Look at entry 5 of the concurrent list..."
The bench told the petitioners' counsel that there was nothing wrong in state governments forming committees, as Article 162 of the Constitution gives the power to the executive to do so.
The bench told the counsel, either he withdraws the petition, or it will be dismissed. Challenging the setting up of the committees, the counsel said it is unconstitutional. After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court junked the plea.
The Uttarakhand government, in May last year, had constituted a 5-member panel led by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai to prepare a draft proposal for the implementation of UCC.
A batch of petitions is pending in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Central government to frame religion and gender-neutral uniform laws for adoption, divorce, succession, guardianship, inheritance, maintenance, marriage age, and alimony.
During a hearing, last week, the Centre had told the apex court that it is a matter of legislative policy.
With inputs from IANS