Free Press Journal

Uniform code: Law panel may recommend piece meal amendments to family laws


New Delhi: The Law Commission will recommend religion-wise “piece-meal” amendments to family laws if it finds it difficult to come out with a composite uniform civil code, Law Commission Chairman Justice B S Chauhan said on Tuesday. He also said that the civil code cannot be violative of any provision of the Constitution. The commission is in the process of segregating the nearly 45,000 suggestions it  has received on its questionnaire on the uniform civil code. “The commission will start examining the issue from January… If a composite code is difficult, we will suggest religion-wide amendments to the various family laws in a piece meal manner,” Chauhan said.

He, however, made it clear that the law panel has so far not taken any decision. “We have to first examine the issue,” he pointed out. He said whatever the panel suggests to the government will be within the framework of the Constitution. “No fundamental right of any person following any religion will be violated,” the former Supreme Court judge said.

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While examining the issue of a single code, the panel will have to keep in mind issues such as the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. “There are provisions in the Constitution which extend certain exemptions to the Northeast,” he pointed out. Amid a raging debate on uniform civil code, the law panel had in October last year sought public views on the subject to revise and reform family laws, saying the aim is to address social injustice rather than to do away with the plurality of laws.

In an appeal issued then, the commission had said the objective behind the endeavour is to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise various cultural practices even as it assured the people that the “norms of no one class, group or community will dominate the tone and tenor of family law reforms”. In an accompanying questionnaire, the commission asked whether the existing personal laws and customary practices need codification and whether these would benefit people.

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