Thane: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Friday said that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is not at all a threat to anyone in the country, urging citizens to remove misconceptions about it and fight the “false propaganda” being run against it.
He was delivering a lecture titled ‘Uniform Civil Code: Why and How?’ here.
UCC aims at replacing the personal laws, based on the scriptures and customs of various religious communities, with a common set of rules governing every citizen of the country.
Khan hoped that UCC is the best thing that will happen in ‘Amrit Kaal’, the period from 75 years to 100 years of India’s independence.
The Kerala governor called upon citizens to remove the “misconceptions” about UCC and also fight the “false propaganda” being carried out against it.
Public support is a must for any law to be successful and the government should work towards it, he said, adding that the same is being done now.
Citing the example of now-banned ‘instant triple talaq, he said it faced rough weather initially. However, after the passing of the triple talaq bill, cases (of triple talaq) have reduced by 55 per cent, he claimed.
This indicates its success, he said, adding that it has benefitted children and mothers.
Khan said UCC should be implemented in the country, not merely because “it is part of the directive principles, but because the existing legal arrangement violates both the fundamental right of equality before law and equal protection of laws”.
“Today every person who goes to court to seek justice in matters pertaining to personal laws receives justice on the basis of his/her religious faith. Two persons similarly circumstanced will not receive similar justice because they belong to different faith traditions,” he said.
Khan said the claim that UCC will destroy the diverse fabric of Indian society is part of a “vicious propaganda” to mislead people to believe that UCC means bringing about uniformity of customs, rituals and practices.
“This is far from the truth. The UCC is only about bringing uniformity of justice,” he said.
Once UCC becomes law, every group will continue to have the freedom to follow their own practices and customs, he said.
But in case of any dispute, if the parties decide to go to court, then uniform justice will be available and no one shall be discriminated against on the basis of her faith, he said.
Khan stressed that UCC is a civil law.
Civil laws do not come into operation on their own, they are enforced by courts only if the affected party goes to court seeking remedy for some alleged wrong, he said.
“I am convinced that the Constitution of India does not allow the government to enforce religious laws as there is no unanimity in any religious community as the interpretations of various provisions differ and particularly among Muslims there are more than six schools of jurisprudence which are applicable to various groups who subscribe to these schools,” he said.
The Kerala governor said Muslim Personal Law at best can be described as sectarian laws which radically differ from each other.
“That explains why Muslim Ulemas are not able to codify the Muslim Law and the Shariat Application Act 1937 is merely a declaratory law that such and such matters shall be decided in accordance with the provisions of Muslim Law,” he said.
In the absence of a codified law, when a specific matter comes for adjudication, the court has no option but to find out some previous ruling and apply that ruling to decide the matter accordingly, Khan said.
“There is a wrong narrative being built around UCC that by adopting it there will be an intrusion in our religious practices or the existence of other countries will be in danger,” he said.