Chennai: Warning that hasty introduction of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) will not only result in a Constitutional breakdown but would also lead to communal disharmony and chaos in the country, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday wrote to the Law Commission Chairperson to drop the idea of implementing it. The letter was written a day after his party, the DMK, formally opposed it.
Stalin said, secularism is a core part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India. Article 25 has assured the “right to profess, practice and propagate religion of one’s choice”. Religious practices are the basis for most of the personal laws of the respective communities and hence, any changes in such personal laws cannot be done without the consent of the religious communities.
How UCC can impact communal harmony in India
“Considering the fact that, even among the people professing the same religion, the practices and beliefs vary from place to place and region to region, such a consent is impossible without reaching a consensus among them. Due to this and among many other factors, the UCC, mentioned as an aspirational goal in Article 44 of the Constitution, has been opposed time and again,” he argued. Besides, the 21st Law Commission of India in its consultation paper in August 2018 had also stated that UCC is not preferable.
Expressing the Government of Tamil Nadu’s strong opposition to the idea of implementation of the UCC, he said, it poses a serious threat and challenges the diverse social structure of our society.
“Personal Laws provide certain protection and rights to minority communities and we consider any attempt to implement UCC is an effort to obliterate the unique religious/cultural identity of minorities including the tribals and create an artificially homogenous majoritarian society,” he added.
UCC violates freedom granted by Constitution under Article 25
The UCC violates the freedom granted by the Constitution under Article 25, which provides every religious group the right to manage its own affairs. Article 29 gives the various religious groups the right to conserve their own distinct culture. Any attempt to impose a uniform code may be perceived as an overreach by the State into religious matters, setting a worrisome precedent for future encroachments on personal liberties, he said.
Besides, he said any reform in personal laws without the active participation and consent of the States will weaken the federal structure of the country. “It is pertinent to note that uniformity in personal laws will not create a unified nation,” he argued.
UCC can create discord among religious groups
According to him, the UCC has the potential to create deep divisions and social unrest among different religious communities. “In a country where there are religious, cultural and linguistic diversities like none other, communal harmony is of utmost importance. It is crucial to promote mutual understanding and respect rather than imposing a uniform code that can generate conflicts and breed animosity,” he said.
Stalin said, the UCC, as it stands, lacks widespread consultation and engagement with the State Governments, religious leaders and community representatives which is crucial to arrive at a well-rounded and acceptable solution.