Uniform Civil Code: Parliament Standing Committee Decides To Review Personal Laws

06:45PM Sat 28 Oct, 2023

As the Law Commission holds consultations on a uniform civil code, the Standing Committee on Law and Justice has chosen the "review of personal laws" among the subjects for its examination.

The UCC is one of the three ideological planks of the BJP. In the run-up to 2024 general elections, the BJP's pitch for UCC and the Opposition's stand has been gaining traction.

The Law Commission had initiated a fresh deliberation on the UCC in June by seeking views from stakeholders, including the public and recognised religious organisations. In short, the UCC would translate into having a common law for all citizens of the country that is not based on religion. Personal laws and laws related to inheritance, adoption and succession are likely to be covered by a common code.

As of now, personal affairs such as marriage, divorce, and succession are governed by religion-specific personal laws. The UCC is mentioned in Article 44 of Part IV, Constitution of India. The part contains Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs). These provisions are not enforceable but are meant to serve as the guiding principles for lawmakers.

Opposition parties have opposed the idea and termed it a political tool of the BJP. Minority organisations have also alleged UCC to be an interferance in their religious affairs. 

Meanwhile, the parliamentary panel, headed by BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi, has also decided to examine remote voting and e-postal ballots for Indians residing abroad. In November 2020, the Election Commission had proposed to the government to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) facility, so far available to service voters, to eligible overseas Indian voters. 

As of now, the issue is pending between the EC and the Ministry of External Affairs. Currently, overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered in. Review of the Right to Information Act, 2005, and working of the Central Information Commission have also been chosen among the subjects for review.

The effectiveness of vigilance administration, functioning of the Central Administrative Tribunal and that of the Central Vigilance Commission are some of the other subjects selected by the panel, a Lok Sabha bulletin said on Friday. Court proceedings and judgements in regional languages, pendency of cases under the Contempt of Court Act and 24x7 virtual courts will also be examined by the committee.