Uniform civil code

Kerala Assembly passes resolution against Uniform Civil Code, says it’s harmful to unity

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday (August 8) introduced a resolution in the state Assembly expressing concern and dismay at the central government’s move to impose a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The resolution said that the unilateral and hasty action by the central government voids the Constitution’s secular character. Following the chief minister’s proposal, the opposition UDF, led by the Congress, put forth some amendments expressing their support for the action taken by the Left government.

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“The Constitution refers to the General Civil Code only in its Directive Principles. It is critical to note that the Uniform Civil Code was limited to Directive Principles. Implementation of Directive Principles is not mandatory. The court may order to enforce Fundamental rights. But the Directive Principles of Article 44 of the Constitution cannot be enforced even by the courts. It is essential to understand how much thought the founders of the Constitution put into their decision,” the resolution stated.

“Our nation ensures secularism right through the Preamble of the Constitution itself. The right to believe in any religion or the right to live according to any religion is ensured as part of the Fundamental Rights itself. Since religious freedom ensured by Article 25 of the Constitution comprises the right to follow and observe religious personal laws as well, any move to enact legislation to ban spiritual practices would amount to violation and abolition of Fundamental Rights ensured in the Constitution. When the right to live according to religious principles is a fundamental right, such legislation, if enacted, would amount to the denial of fundamental rights,” the resolution said.

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“Article 44 of the Constitution only proposes that the nation shall strive to realise a Uniform Civil Code. This maintains that it shall be accomplishable only through consensus and dialogues with various religious groups, in the course of time. However, the central government’s authoritarian moves without consulting anyone, and without trying to create consensus, are making apprehensions among various sections of society. The Kerala Legislative Assembly is also expressing its concerns in this regard. Such efforts to impose Uniform Civil Code are communal in nature and it can only be observed as harmful to the unity of the nation,” the resolution added.

Referring to the views of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, one of the architects of the Indian Constitution, the Assembly resolution said, “Despite advocating the adoption of Uniform Civil Code by respecting citizens’ right to create their own laws, Ambedkar never pressed for one. He only pointed towards a possibility. Common Civil Law was restricted to the scope of the Directive Principle of State Policy due to this opposition.”

The House unanimously urges the central government to refrain from making any blatant moves on issues affecting the people of the country, the resolution said.

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The resolution was introduced in the midst of an ongoing campaign against the UCC by both the Left government and the opposition UDF in the state. Various religious groups have also been taking part in this campaign.

The LDF and UDF had been reluctant in joining hands against the UCC. Both fronts had recently conducted separate seminars in Kozhikode to address the UCC issue.

Kerala is the first legislature in the country to pass a resolution against the UCC. Chief Minister Vijayan introduced the resolution in the Assembly. Earlier, Kerala’s was the first legislature in India to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019.

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