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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 28, July 8, 2023

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, July 8, 2023

Friday 7 July 2023


The Narendra Modi-led BJP Government true to its politico-ideological commitments is currently pushing for a Uniform Civil Code in India possibly for electoral purposes. Almost all the opposition parties have misgivings as to the motives of the Govt, there is mistrust towards rushing in a uniform civil code. People of the Left, feminists, and progressives have mostly been opposing on some ground or the other the uniform civil code idea something that they used to support in the old days. The Left parties used to support the Uniform Civil Code idea till the Shah Bano Case created an impasse. Top leaders of Independent India Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhimrao Ambedkar supported a Uniform Civil Code and that is the reason it was included in the constitution —in Article 44 as something to work towards. These days every other bigshot from civil society groups has been objecting to the use of ’uniformity’ but that comes over a semantic objection rather than anything else. Yes, it is reasonable to ask the Government, to show everyone a draft of the proposed Uniform Civil Code to allay fears of bias and permit debate among those who have misgivings, and allow the inclusion of provisions for all sections of society. All secular parties should show openness and willingness to move towards a common law for all and not buckle under the weight of identity politics and say something like the time is not ripe. The idea of promoting a just and equal regime for all citizens irrespective of faith or custom in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc in a new common law as opposed to the current heterogeneous family law system, should be embraced by all progressive and democratic forces.

July 8, 2023 —HK

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