Amid the Karnataka hijab row and elections to five states, the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) has once again brought the need for a Uniform Civil Code to the
limelight. BJP leader and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said
on Saturday that the state government will strive to implement a Uniform Civil
Code if BJP returns to power in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Also Read | What is Uniform Civil Code?
The 46-year-old Dhami is the third chief minister Uttarakhand has had
within five years. He said if a BJP government comes to power, a committee will
be set up to draft a Uniform Civil Code which will provide for same laws
regarding marriages, divorce, land-property and inheritance.
The Uniform Civil Code has been a legislative promise of the BJP for
years now. It also featured in the party’s election manifesto in the run-up to
the 2019 General Elections. A couple of years ago, BJP MP from Rajasthan,
Kirori Lal Meena had sought to introduce a private members’ Bill in the Rajya
Sabha seeking the implementation of a committee for the formulation of a UCC.
Also Read | Can one state implement Uniform Civil Code?
The Bill, however, could not be introduced after CPI (M) Rajya Sabha
deputy leader Elamaram Kareem wrote to the secretariat asking for the Bill to
not be introduced white the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests were
raging, according to a PTI report.
Now, as states go to polls and communal heat spreads in Karnataka, Union
Minister Giriraj Singh said on Friday that the Uniform Civil Code was the “need
of the hour.” Talking to the media later, the BJP leader said the Karnataka
hijab row indicated a “disturbing trend aimed at muddling the atmosphere of the
A Uniform Civil Code is one that provides for one law that governs marriages,
divorce, succession and adoption for all, irrespective of religious
The Indian Constitution, under Article 44, requires the government to
come up with a Uniform Civil Code. However, after seven decades of
independence, no Union government has managed to come up with such a code.
State governments, in a few places, have managed to bring in aspects of
uniformity in their civil laws.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, in power since 2014, has sought to alter
aspects of personal law, especially Muslim personal law for years now. The
criminalisation of “triple talaq” (instant divorce) was one such step. While UCC
is a constitutional requirement, there is considerable apprehension within
political circles as well as among minorities that the code may seek to impose
rules of the majority community on others.