Kerala Assembly Unanimously Adopts Resolution Against Implementation of Uniform Civil Code

Kerala assembly unanimously adopts resolution urging Central government to refrain from implementing Uniform Civil Code.

Livemint
First Published9 Aug 2023

The Kerala assembly, in a unanimous decision, has adopted a resolution urging the BJP-led Central government to refrain from implementing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) across the nation. The resolution was introduced by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who labeled the proposed UCC as a "unilateral and hasty" step taken by the Central government.

Vijayan asserted that the version of the UCC envisioned by the Sangh Parivar did not align with the principles of the Constitution. Instead, he argued that it was derived from the Hindu legal text 'Manusmriti'. He clarified, "The Sangh Parivar has explicitly indicated this previously. Their intention is not to enforce a provision within the Constitution. It's essential not to misinterpret it in that manner."

Vijayan criticized the BJP government for focusing on criminalizing divorce laws within the Muslim personal law, rather than ensuring the safety of women and marginalized individuals. He questioned whether the UCC would genuinely address the under-representation of tribals, dalits, minorities, and the backward classes in education and employment.

The Chief Minister highlighted concerns regarding religious freedom, wondering if individuals from marginalized communities would be granted access to places of worship and the freedom to practice their own rituals.

The resolution underwent modifications following suggestions from the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), including the removal of references to B R Ambedkar and the notion that UCC could be implemented after comprehensive discussions with all stakeholders. The UDF held the stance that discussions wouldn't necessarily lead to successful implementation of the UCC.

Ultimately, the Chief Minister read out the finalized resolution, expressing the assembly's concerns over the Central government's unilateral and hastily made decision to impose the UCC. Vijayan contended that the imposition of the UCC could undermine the country's secular character.

He emphasized that the Constitution only suggests a general civil law as a directive principle, not as a mandatory provision. He argued that any legislation infringing on the freedom of religion and religious personal rules would violate constitutional rights.

Vijayan also highlighted that Article 44 of the Constitution merely urges the state to strive for a common civil code. He stressed the importance of debates and discussions to build a consensus among the populace before implementing such a significant change.

In conclusion, Vijayan asserted that the Kerala assembly shared the belief that imposing the UCC could threaten the unity of the nation and its people. He referred to historical debates, indicating that even during the Constituent Assembly discussions, opinions on the UCC were divided, and B R Ambedkar's stance was not an insistence on its compulsory implementation.

The move to pass this resolution by the CPI(M)-led government coincides with ongoing campaigns against the UCC by both the ruling Left and the opposition UDF in Kerala, as well as various religious organizations within the state. The Law Commission of India recently received public submissions regarding the potential implementation of the UCC, while Chief Minister Vijayan accused the BJP of pursuing an "electoral agenda" by pushing the UCC and urged the Centre to withdraw the move.

 

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