Don’t use UCC for electoral gains, Opposition tells BJP in parliamentary panel meet
With more than two weeks left for the crucial monsoon session of Parliament, battle lines are already drawn between the Union government and the Opposition. The message from the Opposition side was clear on Monday (July 3) when they collectively asked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that issues like the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) should not be used for electoral gains.
A glimpse of the tussle was visible on Monday when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law, and Justice met to discuss the broad contours of the UCC and invited members of the Law Commission to deliberate on the crucial issue.
“Members of the Congress, along with other Opposition parties, have warned the BJP members that the UCC should not be used for electoral gains. Opposition members were categorically clear at the time of discussion that the BJP was trying to use the UCC issue for the upcoming general elections, and this should not happen,” a source said.
Senior leaders of the Opposition parties have alleged that the BJP was using the UCC debate to avoid discussing crucial issues like price rise, unemployment, issues related to defence, and inflation.
“We have questioned the timing of the UCC debate. This is being done because the Union government does not want to discuss the real issues that are affecting the people of the country. All this is being done just to avoid discussion on some of the important issues.
“During the meeting, both the Shiv Sena, led by Uddhav Thackeray, and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) asked the members of the Law Commission about UCC and wanted clarifications on several issues. They also asked what provisions the Law Commission would be discussing and the response of different stakeholders,” the source added.
The monsoon session of Parliament is due to start on July 20 and will continue till August 11. The Centre said that out of the 23 days of the session, there will be a total of 17 sittings of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
“The issue is very clear. When the 21st Law Commission report clearly stated that UCC was not needed at this stage, why is the 22nd Law Commission discussing it? The government is doing this for political purposes, and this is an attempt to mislead people from the real issues,” another source said.
During the course of the discussion, Opposition parties also told the members of the parliamentary committee that the issue of UCC would not only affect the lives of tribal people but also work against the federal structure of the country.
“We feel that the powers of the states like Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram will get affected because the Sixth Schedule deals with the provisions for the administration of tribal areas. There are special provisions for the people of Tribal areas, and the Constitution provides protection to certain states,” tweeted Rajya Sabha MP and senior DMK leader P Wilson.
Today, before the commencement of the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Law & Justice , I submitted a letter to the Hon'ble Chairman & Members of the Law Commission of India through the Hon'ble Chairman of the Committee Thiru @SushilModi ji about the holding of further… pic.twitter.com/ASY6M3G0KL
— P. Wilson (@PWilsonDMK) July 3, 2023
Opposition leaders also said that Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, and Karnataka were some of the other states that would be affected by UCC.
While the Congress attended the parliamentary committee meeting in full strength along with the DMK, members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were not present. Leaders of the NCP had informed that they would be busy due to the ongoing internal party crisis in Maharashtra.
The Law Commission had invited all stakeholders to give their suggestions on the implementation of UCC in the country. The consultation process started on June 18.