Uniform Civil Code: The next item on the agendatext_fields
The BJP-led central and state governments in India are all set to introduce the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) after the implementation of policies and laws like citizenship amendment, ban on triple talaq, construction of Ram temple, and dilution of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, etc which are included in the RSS-BJP agenda. If the previous items in the agenda were aimed at garnering majority community votes in the elections, the BJP's current move to fulfill its long-standing promise of implementing the UCC is with an eye on the upcoming state elections at the end of this year and 2023, and the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. Announcing the decision to implement a Uniform Civil Code in BJP-ruled Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh has said that an expert committee will be appointed to formulate it. Commenting on this, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that the UCC is a good step and his government is also preparing to implement it. UP Deputy Chief Minister Maurya had earlier hinted that it will be implemented in the Yogi Adityanath-led state as well. At a BJP core committee meeting in Bhopal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had demanded the party workers be at the forefront of the implementation of UCC. He also described that it will be a pilot project in Uttarakhand. Other BJP-ruled states are also expected to follow suit. Ultimately, the Sangh Parivar is determined to bring the same law across the country on issues like marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption by introducing a bill in Parliament.
It is to be noted that it has been a while since the right-wing has been claiming that Muslims are going to be the majority in India as Islam encourages polygamy, which eventually leads to population growth. But this is not the justification given by the stakeholders for the unification of the Civil Code. Their demand is based on the fact that the State is obliged to legislate to bind the whole country under a Uniform Civil Code, which is enshrined in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of the Constitution of India. Even when it was introduced in the Constituent Assembly, it was opposed by Muslim members such as Muhammad Ismail, B. Pocker Sahib, Naziruddin Ahmad, and Hussain Imam. Ambedkar and other makers of the Constitution countered their opposition by pointing out that the Uniform Civil Code would not be implemented as mandatory. The situation today is that many of the items of Directive Principles , including the prohibition of alcohol, have not yet been implemented nor even considered yet. The Narendra Modi-led BJP government, which has been consistently vocal in its demand for a Uniform Civil Code, had asked the Law Commission chaired by Justice B.S. Chauhan in June 2016 to study the concept and report on it. In a report submitted to the government in 2018, the commission made clear that a unified personal law in the country was neither necessary nor desirable at this stage. It highlighted that it was better to maintain the diversity of personal laws by ensuring that fundamental rights under the Constitution are not violated. The Commission emphasised the need to ensure that secularism should not deny pluralism in the country. Prior to its submission, the commission had sought the views of political parties, religious organizations, and the public. "Differences cannot be considered as discrimination. It is an indicator of the strength of democracy," the Law Commission reported while also reminding the government that many countries around the world are now beginning to recognize diversity.
M.S. Golwalkar, the ideologue of the RSS, has himself argued that "a Uniform Civil Code is not necessary for national integration." But extremist Hindutva is not bothered about such views at all in its urge to impose a single monolithic culture in all walks of life. The bizarre truth is that no one has put before the people a blueprint on what the implementation will be like, despite all the clamour for the unification of civil law. Many reforms in family law have already been implemented in the country. The educated new generation is neither following the pre-existing rituals or traditions. It should also be remembered that surveys have revealed that polygamy is more prevalent in communities for whom it is prohibited than in those that allow it. It remains to be seen where India will end up with its agenda to create animosity and hostility towards a particular community and thereby make the entire social life unbalanced and strained.