Union Law Ministry to SC: PIL for Uniform Civil Code Unmaintainable, Parliament Cannot Be Ordered to Frame UCC

Bhuvana Marni

Published on: October 18, 2022 at 23:45 IST

The Union Law Ministry has argued in front of the Supreme Court that it is not within its power to order the Parliament to frame or enact any law. As a result, the PILs submitted to the court asking for the country’s Uniform Civil Code must be dismissed as unmaintainable.

BJP politician and attorney Ashwini Upadhyay filed a PIL asking for consistency in the personal laws governing marriage, divorce, maintenance, and alimony, the Ministry stated.

“A writ of Mandamus cannot be issued to the legislature to enact particular legislation. This is a matter of policy for the elected representatives of the people to decide and no direction in this regard can be issued by the Court. It is for the legislature to enact or not to enact a piece of legislation.”

The State must ensure that all people have access to the Uniform Civil Code, according to the directive principle of Article 44 of the Indian Constitution.

According to the Ministry, the purpose of Article 44 is to strengthen the Preamble of the Constitution’s reference to a “Secular Democratic Republic.” This provision aims to facilitate India’s unification by uniting communities around issues that are now handled by various personal laws.

Due to the significance and delicate nature of the issue, a thorough examination of the many personal laws is necessary.

The Ministry reassured the Court that it is aware of the issue and that the 21st Law Commission has conducted a thorough investigation by seeking input by inviting representatives and several stakeholders. However, since the said Commission’s term ended in August 2018, the matter will be placed before the 22nd Commission.

“As and when the Report of Law Commission in the matter is received, the Government would examine the same in consultation with the various stakeholders involved in the matter,” it added.

Six PILs, including four by Ashwini Upadhyay, one by Lubna Qureshi, and another by Doris Martin, are now pending before the Supreme Court and seek the enactment of UCC.

The petitioners claim that while the Supreme Court or High Court cannot order the Government to implement Article 44 of the Constitution, they can order the Center to form a committee to draft a Uniform Civil Code.

According to the petitioners, the UCC has always been viewed as a show of religious appeasement.

Similar requests for UCC are now being heard by the Delhi High Court.

The Centre had filed an affidavit before the High Court earlier this year, claiming that implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, a directive principle under the Constitution, is a matter of public policy and that no direction in this regard can be issued by the Court.

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. Union of India & Ors.

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