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Uniform Civil Code row: Religion should not dictate rights of individuals, says Arun Jaitley

ARUN JAITELY

New Delhi: Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday asserted that religion cannot dictate upon the rights of an individual and attacked Congress over its stand on the Uniform Civil Code, saying it was the Constituent Assembly controlled by the party that had envisaged a common civil law for all Indians.

“The Constitution today guarantees each individual right to equality, right to live with dignity. Therefore as far as personal laws are concerned I am one of those who believe that set of rights that personal law has… will have to be regulated by the Constitution.

“Personal law cannot practise, propagate discrimination; cannot allow a compromise with human dignity. Personal law and practises can certainly deal with religion, can dictate upon rituals. The religion cannot dictate upon rights of individuals,” the Finance Minister said.

The government’s affidavit on triple talaq is a secular approach, an approach that cuts upon religion, he said.

He rejected the criticism of the government by various Muslim bodies, saying personal laws have been amended by the various governments and cited the amendment brought in by the first NDA government in divorce laws governing Christians. The Church fully supported it, he said.

The Manmohan Singh government had also brought changes in Hindu Succession Act to bring the woman at par with the man in inheritance, Jaitley told Times Now.

Taking a dig at Congress, he said he was “amazed” at its stand as he recalled that the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, who belonged to the party, had envisaged an Uniform Civil Code.

He added that the Law Commission, which has sought views of various stake holders on the UCC, is carrying out an academic exercise following a judicial order and it was not the government’s decision.

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