The Law Commission of India sought for a public vote on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country. It released a questionnaire on Friday, 7, October, 2016 that can be filled out by anybody and sent back within 45 days.
Justice BS Chauhan, who heads the panel, made an appeal asking the public to cooperate with it for a "comprehensive exercise of the revision and reform of family laws". He also outlined the objective of the questionnaire, writing that it was to "address discrimination against various groups and harmonise various cultural practices". The Commission also invited suggestions on "all possible models and templates" of a common civil code.
"The Commission hopes to begin a healthy conversation about the viability of a uniform civil code and will focus on family laws of all religions and the diversity of customary practices, to address social injustice rather than plurality of laws," law panel chairman Justice BS Chauhan (retd) said.
The 16-point questionnaire includes questions on the perception of Article 44, what are the subjects that the UCC should include and/or exclude, if the UCC will ensure gender equality or if it should be optional. It further explores subjects such as polyandry, polygamy and maitri-karaar or a friendship agreement.
More importantly, Chauhan also mentioned that family law reform, among other things, should strive to achieve women's rights as "an end in itself" that consider it as a constitutional matter or religious or political debate.
The questionnaire also includes points on the hotly debated topic of triple talaq — whether it should be abolished, retained or retained with suitable amendments — and of property rights among Hindu women. It also includes points on Christian women's right to equality when it comes to the two-year waiting period for finaliisng divorces. It also takes into account inter-caste and inter-religion marriages, the compulsory registration of marriages and finally, it invites suggestions on what measures should be taken to sensitise the society towards a common code.
Talking about triple talaq, the Muslim Personal Law Board, in a press conference on Thursday said that the "Uniform Civil Code is not good for this nation" as "many cultures in this nation" need to be respected. It also added that it was the Constitution that helped them (Muslims) live and practice their religion.
Muslims equally participated in India’s freedom struggle, but their participation is always underestimated: Muslim Personal Law Board pic.twitter.com/XINP1Obfwf
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 13, 2016
The group also stressed upon the fact that "Muslims equally participated in India’s freedom struggle", but their participation went underestimated.
With inputs from PTI