Statement on the Draft Uniform Civil Code for the Indian Citizen

Here is the statement released by Tufail Ahmad, renowned journalist and political commentator on the Draft Uniform Civil Code/Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen jointly prepared by him and two others .

Editor’s note: Here is the statement released by Tufail Ahmad, renowned journalist and political commentator on the Draft Uniform Civil Code/Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen jointly prepared by him and two others (Satya Prakash and Siddharth Singh). The Draft UCC is attached as a file to the bottom of the statement.

The Constitution of India, under Article 44, directs the government as follows: “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” However, ever since the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, no attempt has been made by the Indian government to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for fear that political parties could lose Muslim votes. Even civil society organisations and human rights activists have shied away from advocating a UCC for Indian citizens. This is a result of the prevailing erroneous belief that the uniform civil code is meant to curb personal laws, especially only of Muslims.

Contrarily, a uniform civil code was desired by the framers of the Constitution to ensure that basic fundamental rights of citizens, irrespective of their religious and other identities, are protected within a larger human rights framework. The issue of UCC has emerged into India’s political discourse recently because many Muslim women, affected adversely by the personal laws, have begun knocking on the doors of the Supreme Court to uphold their fundamental rights to equality and liberty in keeping with constitutional provisions. Therefore, more than ever before a realisation is gaining ground that a UCC will protect the constitutional rights of Indian citizens.

At present, no draft UCC exists that could enlighten the people of India regarding the specifics that will constitute such a code. Therefore, I began drafting a UCC and in this process was assisted by two gentlemen, Mr. Satya Prakash and Mr. Siddharth Singh, in their personal capacity. This UCC is drafted within a broader context of a Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian citizen (Ubric). This draft UCC is the first-ever attempt to bring specific issues before the public for a wider discussion. It is necessary to emphasize that the word “uniform” in the uniform civil code is not meant to homogenise the lifestyles and identities of Indian citizens but to ensure that certain fundamental rights to equality and liberty are protected for them by the Indian state.

An attempt has been made by us to address outstanding issues which are not limited to personal laws but have emerged into public discourse recently. Such issues include the lack of transparency in the functioning of political parties, Muslim women’s quest for equality, gay rights, and selective use of the rule of law by government officials such as in the case of Kamlesh Tiwari, thereby creating gulf between communities and threatening the cohesion of India. Therefore, this draft UCC is contextualised within the broader framework of a Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen. This 12-clause document is a working draft that we hope to improve through wider public consultation. While the government may or may not introduce a UCC, we request journalists, politicians, authors, citizens, social activists and others to discuss the specifics of this draft UCC and try to take this debate forward among the people.

We must emphasize that contemporary India is a totally new society in which 55 percent of its 1.3 billion people are below 25 years of age. This is a huge new population that is willing to shed ideas about caste and religion inherited from parents and religious leaders. The social attitudes and aspirations of these new people living in India’s territory are shaped essentially by the ideals enshrined in the Constitution of India. This is a constitutional generation of Indians which is clamouring for a uniform civil code to ensure that equal rights are available to all citizens, irrespective of religious and other identities.

Statement issued by: Tufail Ahmad, November 30, 2016

Contact: [email protected]

Read here the working draft of UCC: Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen (Working Draft)

Featured Image: http://www.livelaw.in

 

IndiaFacts Staff articles, reports and guest pieces
  • Rag

    Some of the most important things which is promoting social disharmony, and partisan justice by govt has to be addressed by UCC.

    -Control of religious funding

    Free flow of Middle East dollars is causing Salafist/Wahabist to hire jihadists & killers for a hefty price. This has to be stopped.

    -Control of radicalization through religious speeches/lectures

    This is the most important. Muslims today, talk any nonsense inside mosques in name of religion. Ask its followers to kill, maim, rape others inside mosques in name of religion. This has to be stopped, and banned. And very strong punishment upto life imprisonment for calling to violence is needed.

    -Banning of commercialization of temple grant lands

    A partisan government makes it very difficult for Hindus to apply for government grant lands for building large temples in cities in India. That has to go

    -Dispute resolution of places of worship

    A tribunal mechanism outside SC is needed for discussion on all religious places of worship deemed in dispute.

    -Archival of religious history

    A committee to re look at history, collect archives of atrocities on Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, capture their history, pictures, old references have to be captured correctly. Those history cannot be washed off just like that, as per the whims and fancies of certain individuals or communities.

    -Oath of citizens to country’s honour by all citizens

    An oath is required from all citizens, that put their actions as Country First, Religion next. This is needed to build a trusting society. We cannot have our citizens sit inside India, hate India and work for its destruction from within, all the while working in positions in government and secrecy, which require some basic ethics of humanity.

    -Foreign contribution to religious places regulation

    The flow of foreign funds has to be scrutinized, so that people who want to cause civil disturbance inside India and stopped at the gates.

    -Audit of financial accounts of religious places

    Too many years have gone by and no government knows where the religious money of religious trusts is coming from, and where it goes. It has to be controlled.

    -Repeal of religious subsidies

    Uniform civil code means, all religions get equal access to subsidies – Hindus get Amarnath Yatra funding, Badrinath/Rameshwaram subsidies like Muslims get for Haj.

    -Regulation of religious courts & other local courts

    A regulation required so, religious places dont start a panchayat / or Sharia courts and make this entire law useless. Those kind of setups should be banned.

    • Rama

      I would add “conversion by any means” to the list. Voluntary conversion to any other religion should be through court of law. Group conversion should be banned. Obviously anyone who is returning back to his ancestor’s religion cannot be considered as conversion.

      • One can go to court only on legal conversions. People get covertly and forcibly converted under conditions of captivity or situations that they are in under mercy against freedom of retaining one’side religion by birth. They get badly influenced with conversion and proselytizing agenda funded well by NGOs.

        It never gets to courts because of religious fear that lead them to be ostracized from different socio-psychological health.

        We need better standards of living.

  • Rag

    Uniform civil code as mentioned here is hardly a UCC.

    UCC has to cover, hell of a lot more..

    -Personal rights
    -Marriage Law
    -Abortion law
    -Civil liberties, and anti-Slavery rules for men, women and children,
    -Succession acts
    -Control of religious funding
    -Control of radicalization through religious speeches/lectures
    -Banning of commercialization of temple grant lands
    -Surrogacy, stem cell rules
    -Womens rights to religion & home & elsewhere
    -Butchery & sacrifice of animals
    -Dispute resolution of places of worship
    -Archival of religious history
    -Oath of citizens to country’s honour by all citizens
    -Rights & safety of LGBTQ, minorities
    -Foreign contribution to religious places regulation
    -Audit of financial accounts of religious places
    -Repeal of religious subsidies
    -Repeal of existing various religion based acts
    -Regulation of religious courts & other local courts

    So, unless all of the above are covered, it doesnt mean anything.

    The UCC given above is UCC for Dummies !!, and probably represents 1% of UCC.