Seeking dismissal of a petition which prays for drafting of Uniform Civil Code, the Centre has told Delhi High Court that it is a matter of policy for elected representatives of the people to decide, and no direction in this regard can be issued by the court.
The matter is currently pending with the Law Commission of India, the government told the court.
“In view of the importance of the subject matter and sensitivity involved, which requires in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities, the Centre requested the Law Commission of India to undertake examination of various issues relating to Uniform Civil Code and to make recommendation thereof,” the Ministry of Law and Justice said in response to a PIL filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in 2019.
The 21st Law Commission, after receiving several representations from various stakeholders, undertook detailed research on the matter and had uploaded a consultation paper titled ‘Reform of Family Law’ on its website on August 31, 2018, for wider discussions, the Union government said.
“As and when the report of Law Commission in the matter is received, the government would examine the same in consultation with various stakeholders involved in the matter,” the government said.
Stating that Article 44 creates an obligation upon the State to endeavor to secure for citizens a uniform civil code, the Centre said the provision is provided to effect integration of India by bringing various communities on the common platform on matters that are presently governed by diverse personal laws.
“This Article is based on the concept that in matters of inheritance, right to property, maintenance and succession, there will be a common law. Article 44 divests religion from social relations and personal law. Citizens belonging to different religious and denominations follow different property and matrimonial laws which is an affront to the nation’s unity,” reads the reply.
In the petition, Upadhyay has argued that “diversity in personal matters along with religious differentiation” leads to “sentimental tension between different communities” and that the object of Article 44 is to introduce a common civil code for all “which is essential to promote fraternity, unity and national integration”.
The case is listed for hearing on January 13.