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Don’t bring politics in debate on Uniform Civil Code: Chauhan

New Delhi: Politics should not be brought into the Law Commission’s exercise to make recommendations regarding framing of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to achieve the goals of gender equality and dignity for women.

“We are merely an advisory body. We are not going to make the law. People should not mix politics in it. We are an advisory body and not a law making authority.

“I have no involvement with politics. We, in Law Commission, are working on the reference received from the government,” Law Commission Chairman Justice B S Chauhan told PTI here.

Maintaining that the law panel was carrying out a larger debate on the issue without any “prejudice or bias” to arrive at an objective as per the constitutional norms, he cautioned against bringing politics into the debate saying the entire exercise was being undertaken due to the growing awareness in the society.

“We will make the recommendations and Parliament will debate threadbare on them. After due scrutiny by both the Houses, the Legislature will take a call,” the former Supreme Court judge said.

He expressed pain that the media debate on UCC had crossed limits of decency and said the subject was an “academic one” and should be discussed in a manner that would promote social harmony and welfare of the people.

“All are educated now and the debate should not take the shape of indecency as has been witnessed in some of the media debates. … In a democracy, debate (on UCC) must be carried out in a healthy manner to promote social harmony and welfare of people. All sections of society should come forward to participate in this academic debate,” Justice Chauhan said.

He was of the opinion that a lot of ‘hue and cry’ has been made on the contentious issue of ‘triple talaq’ which, he said, was “one of the small parts of the entire exercise” of the Law Commission on the UCC.

“The issue of triple talaq is one of the small parts of the entire exercise and probably it will be settled by the Supreme Court before the Law Commission comes out with its final recommendations,” he said.
The Law Commission Chairman was of the view that the

discriminatory practices against women were now on the wane with the progress in education and awareness. Women were coming forward to claim gender equality as was evident in the recent cases of Haji Ali Dargah, Shani Singnapur Mandir and Sabarimala temple, he said.

Justice Chauhan said “I don’t have my own opinion on it (UCC). Nothing like that, but what is accepted is that gender equality as per the norms of the Constitution should be adhered to. We are not prejudiced or biased”.

He said the UCC issue was relevant as the Supreme Court has regularly raised questions on it when issues like rights of women in property, inheritance etc were taken up.

“Everytime, Supreme Court also asks questions about the UCC, as to why it has not come. In 2015 also, a Supreme Court judge had also asked why UCC has not come.

“It is not a religious matter. It is a case of gender equality and dignity,” he said and referred to an instance when a judge had raised questions about the Christian cannon law in which a relatively larger time of two years was taken for granting divorce.

Justice Chauhan expressed satisfaction about the large number of responses received since the questionnaire on UCC was made public on October 7 and said a team was working to retreive them for the perusal and the final steps would be taken after 45 days when the date for submitting responses would end.

“We will start reading the responses and suggestions on the questionnaire in the first week of December as large number of persons have responded to the questions and 45 days is still to be reached,” he said.

PTI