NEW DELHI: BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi, chairman of the parliamentary
committee on law and justice, on Monday suggested keeping tribals from
the northeast and other parts of the country out of the purview of the
Uniform Civil Code (UCC) even as opposition parties questioned the
timing of fresh consultations on the controversial issue.
panel's meeting, Modi said the northeast, which was governed as per
provisions mentioned in Article 371 of the Constitution, and tribal
areas mentioned in the Sixth Schedule should be exempted from the UCC.
Most members of the panel said parties would be able to submit their formal response on the issue only after the government presented a draft proposal. Even as Modi said this was only the first in a series of meetings on UCC, Congress MPs are learnt to have asked if the review of personal laws, or implementation of UCC, would end up challenging the freedom of religion in the country.
19L suggestions came in on UCC: Officials
The House panel had also summoned officials of the law ministry and the Law Commission for the discussion.
said Congress also raised the Centre's opposition to same-sex marriage
in the Supreme Court, where the government argued that marriage is
"inherently connected with one's religion". Senior advocate and Congress
MP Vivek Tankha is learnt to have said that since the government had
argued that marriage formed a part of personal laws, would
implementation of UCC not hurt people's sentiments and their religious
In separate written statements, Tankha and DMK MP P Wilson asked Law Commission member-secretary K Biswal why the panel had invited public comments when the previous Law Commission, the term of which ended on August 31, 2018, had described UCC as "neither necessary not desirable" at this stage.
BJP member Mahesh Jethmalani made a strong defence of UCC, citing Constituent Assembly debates to assert it was always considered imperative. However, there were others who pointed out that UCC should be more of a "voluntary" participation, adding that B R Ambedkar too wanted that to prevail.
It was learnt that law ministry officials gave a powerpoint presentation on the consultation process.
Sources said 17 out of 31 members of the panel attended the meeting. Parties such as TMC and NCP were among those who did not attend.