[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked government to file an affidavit in response to a PIL seeking constitution of a judicial commission or a high level expert committee to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for securing gender justice, equality and dignity of women.
The petition by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought the UCC for promoting unity, fraternity and national integration. Filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, the plea has contended that the Centre has “failed” to put in place a UCC as provided under Article 44 of the Constitution.
Pointing out that the nature and purpose of the Article 44 is to introduce a common civil code for all, which is essential to promote fraternity, unity and national integration, it stated: “While the Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and of religion, it seeks to divest religion from personal law and social relations and from laws governing inheritance, succession and marriage, just as it has been done even in the Muslim countries like Turkey and Egypt etc. The object of Article 44 is not to encroach upon religious liberties.”
“The need of the hour for national integration is a draft copy of UCC”, it said and added, “It said gender justice and gender equality, guaranteed under Articles 14-15 of the Constitution and dignity of women, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, cannot be secured without implementing the Article 44.”
Another plea has been filed by advocate Abhinav Beri was mentioned before a bench a Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar earlier on Monday and has been tagged for hearing along with Upadhyay’s petition. It sought directions to the Law Commission to draft a UCC within three months and publish them online for public feedback.
The petition has been opposed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which has filed an application to be impleaded as a party in the matter.
The court said that the matter would be heard next on November 4.