No UCC for Tribes of North East: Sushil Modi

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs

India, All India

Opposition questions timing of move on Uniform Civil Code

BJP RS member Sushil Modi. (PTI File)

NEW DELHI: BJP RS member Sushil Modi on Monday advocated keeping tribals of the North East and other regions out of the purview of any likely Uniform Civil Code at a parliamentary panel meeting chaired by him while some opposition members questioned the law commission’s move to begin consultation on the contentious issue.

Panel on law, headed by Sushil Modi today held a meeting on the issue of the UCC. The standing panel has called representatives of the law commission and the law ministry on a recent notice issued by the law panel seeking views of stakeholders on the issue of a UCC.

Sources said that most of the opposition members, including those from the Congress and the DMK, linked the push for a UCC to the next year Lok Sabha polls. It has been learnt that Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut noted that many countries had a common civil law while calling for looking into concerns of different communities and regions. He also questioned the consultation's timing.

It has been further learnt that Congress MP Vivek Tankha and DMK MP P Wilson submitted separate written statements questioning the move of the Law Commission, which was represented in the meeting by its member-secretary K Biswal, to invite suggestions on UCC from people and other stakeholders.

Sources said that they noted that the previous Law Commission, the term of which ended on August 31, 2018, had described the UCC as neither necessary nor desirable at this stage.

“Congress' Manickam Tagore also questioned the intent behind the move and linked it to the polls,” they said.

BJP's Mahesh Jethmalani, however, made a strong defence for the UCC as he cited debates in the constituent assembly to assert that it was always considered imperative.

Sources said that Sushil Modi in his comments pitched for keeping tribals, including those in the North East, out of the ambit of any proposed UCC and noted that all laws have exceptions.

It was also pointed out in the meeting, sources said, that the central laws are not applicable in some North Eastern states without their concurrence.

Law Commission officials said so far, 19 lakh suggestions have been received on the consultation started by it following a public notice brought out on June 13. The exercise will continue till July 13.

Sources said that 17 out of 31 members of the panel attended the meeting.

The 22nd Law Commission of India is examining the matter of Uniform Civil Code. Initially, the 21st Law Commission of India had in October 2016 examined the subject on Uniform Civil Code and solicited the views of all the stakeholders through its appeal along with a questionnaire. “Pursuant to the same, overwhelming responses have been received by the Commission.

The 21st Law Commission has issued the consultation paper on “Reforms of Family Law” on 31.08.2018. Since more than three years have been lapsed from the date of issuance of the said Consultation Paper, bearing in mind the relevance and importance of the subject and also the various Court orders on the subject, the 22nd Law Commission of India considered it expedient to deliberate afresh over the subject. Accordingly, the 22nd Law Commission of India decided again to solicit views and ideas of the public at large and recognized religious organizations about the Uniform Civil Code,” the Law Commission said.

Those interested can present their views till July 14 to the Law Commission of India. The stakeholders can also make their submissions in the form of consultation, discussion or working papers on any of the issues pertaining to the Uniform Civil Code to the Law Commission of India. If need be, the Commission may call upon any individual or organization for a personal hearing or discussion, the Law Commission said.

The panel circulated the 2018 consultation paper of the 21st Law Commission on the subject to its members.