Immediately after taking charge as the Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, on Thursday announced that his cabinet had decided to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state. However, Dhami’s announcement did not sit well with Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) which went on a rant on social media platforms and vilified the BJP government at the centre and state.
Taking to Twitter, the IAMC “unequivocally condemned the BJP-ruled Uttarakhand state’s decision to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).” The IAMC went as far as to claim that ensuring that all citizens of a nation adhering to the same laws in ‘secular’ matters will somehow lead to the erasure of Muslims and Christians by a “Hindu supremacist” government.
The farcical organisation wrote, “Implementing the UCC is a violation of freedom of religion and an invasion in the private lives of citizens, particularly Muslims and Christians, who are already severely marginalized in India.”
It further added, “The Hindu nationalist BJP has long been a proponent of the UCC precisely because it is an effective erasure of Muslim and other minority religious practices. UCC is a tool that forces a minority to conform to the standards of uniformity set by an extremist majority.”
IAMC today unequivocally condemned the BJP-ruled Uttarakhand state’s decision to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
— Indian American Muslim Council (@IAMCouncil) March 25, 2022
Hijab controversy and equating it with UCC
Rather weirdly in its tirade, IAMC brought the Hijab controversy of Karnataka into the middle. The Islamist organisation claimed that the recent judgement of the High Court proved the Hindu centric idea of uniformity spreading across the country.
“This phenomenon can already be seen in the aftermath of the Karnataka state High Court’s ban on religious dress in schools, which unfairly discriminates against Muslims under the guise of secularism, while Hindu festivals and religious texts are incorporated into curriculum’s.”
It is pertinent to note that IAMC is an intrinsically anti-India organisation. It is alleged to have paid money to lobby groups in the USA to get India black-listed by the USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom) and has alleged terror ties to dangerous terror outfits as well.
BJP fulfils its poll-promise
Implementation of UCC was one of the poll promises made by the BJP in the run-up to the Uttarakhand elections 2022. As reported by TFI, during the canvassing process, Dhami was quoted as saying, “This committee will prepare a draft of the uniform civil code for the people of Uttarakhand. This UCC will be for equal laws on subjects like marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance for people of all religions,”
There have been accusations that Dhami is a lethargic leader and thus looking to debunk the opponents, the two-time CM has started on a positive note by bringing the all-important legislation.
Announcing his decision, Dhami said, “The state cabinet unanimously approved that a committee (of experts) will be constituted at the earliest and UCC will be implemented in the state. This will be the first state to do so,”
We have decided to implement Uniform Civil Code in the state. The state cabinet unanimously approved that a committee (of experts) will be constituted at the earliest & it will implemented in the state. This will be the first state to do so: Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami pic.twitter.com/GJNAdk1XbF
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) March 24, 2022
What is Uniform Civil Code?
The naysayers of UCC should understand that it is not the demand of BJP, but it is mentioned in the constitution. Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a UCC for the citizens throughout the territory of India. It comes under Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).
A UCC is a comprehensive set of common laws for all the religions governing personal matters like marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, and others. It aims at ensuring equality among all religions.
Earlier in November 2021, the Allahabad High Court had highlighted that the UCC is mandatory. The single-judge bench of Justice Suneet Kumar had said that “A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws that have conflicting ideologies.”
Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s stance on UCC
Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar wanted to introduce UCC in India, but due to resistance from Congress and other members of the constituent assembly, it was left with succeeding generations to implement the UCC.
Expressing his exasperation towards the personal laws, he questioned members of the constituent assembly ‘why religion should be given expansive jurisdiction which is full of inequities, discriminations and other things, which conflict with fundamental rights.’
BJP using Uttarakhand as a springboard to bring UCC at the national level
The issue of UCC has been an ideological promise that the BJP has made to the country’s electorate time and again. In the BJP’s 2019 manifesto as well, the party committed itself to bringing in the UCC. If there is any government that can implement UCC, it has to be the current Modi administration.
After the abrogation of article 370, bringing UCC may be the next watershed moment for PM Modi and could very well secure a comfortable majority in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. If the Uttarakhand experiment works smoothly, it could pave for the rollout of the same legislation at the national level.