The BJP Government had issued a three-line whip for all the MPs of Rajya Sabha requesting their presence in the House on February 11, 2020, to support the government’s stand. It was the last day of the Budget session before heading for a break, and apparently, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill was supposed to be tabled. Amidst intense speculation from the Opposition and the impending Delhi Assembly election results, the apparent decision was altered.
The UCC deals with the scrapping of separate civil laws applicable in case of minorities in religious and cultural affairs. This has created a lot of hype on social media, reminding the scenario during the abrogation of Article 370.
Sources report that social media is reliant on a viral image showing legislation on UCC listed to be introduced at the Upper House; there was also talk that this pertains to a government stand on promotions for the Scheduled Castes on which the Supreme Court judgment caused an enormous commotion in both houses of Parliament on February 10, 2020.
As the protests against NRC and CAA continue in the country, it is feared that the introduction of the UCC would serve as fuel to fire.
However, interestingly, BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena did not introduce his private member bill in Rajya Sabha on February 7, 2020, which would have kickstarted the procedure of the UCC. Instead, he laid forward another bill seeking financial support for Rajasthan.
As per sources, this happened after a letter was written to the Secretariat by CPI(M) Rajya Sabha Deputy Leader Elamaram Kareem asking them to not allow the introduction of the ‘Uniform Civil Code in India Bill 2020’, saying it violates the elemental aspects of the Constitution and can “further aggravate” things within the country at a time the country is witnessing protests against Citizenship Amendment Act.
Meena’s Bill seeks to find out a National Inspection and Investigation Committee for the preparation of UCC and its implementation throughout the country. The BJP MP couldn’t be reached for his version on why he didn’t move the Bill.
The UCC bill was the seventh in the list of bills to be introduced in the House, but Meena was not present when his name was called by the Deputy Chairman Harivansh. He came in to submit the eighth bill on the list, that is, the Special Financial Assistance to the State of Rajasthan 2020 Bill seeking financial assistance for the welfare of SCs, STs, OBCs, and the proper development, utilisation, and exploitation of resources.
Meena also did not emphasise on moving forward with the UCC bill, portraying the fact that BJP is currently not very keen in its immediate introduction. The opposition parties have also put forward a passionate resistance against the same.
Meena said at the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill that the government did not show “proper will power” for implementing UCC because “the minorities, especially the Muslims thought that the UCC would lead to the violation of their personal laws”.
According to the pending Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill, a set of laws are going to be prepared which can protect the private rights of all citizens without considering the faith, which seems to be the necessity of the hour. In other words, UCC seeks to scrap the separate civil laws applicable to minorities in religious and cultural affairs.
This is often the inspiration stone of secularism. Such progressive reforms won’t only help to finish discrimination against women but also help in strengthening the secular structure and encourage integrity”.
The next move of the government regarding the UCC bill is yet to see.