Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday expressed his state’s ”strong” opposition to the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC), arguing against a ”one-size-fits-all approach,” and flagged his concerns in a detailed letter to the Chairperson of the Law Commission of India.
In the letter, he said ”UCC poses a serious threat and challenges the diverse social structure of our society.” ”I am writing to express Government of Tamil Nadu’s strong opposition to the idea of implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India that is known for its multicultural social fabric. While I understand the need for certain reforms, I believe that the UCC poses a serious threat and challenges the diverse social structure of our society,” he said.
He said the country prides itself on being a secular nation that respects and protects the rights of minorities through Article 29 of the Constitution. The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution also ensures that the tribal areas of States preserve their customs and practices through District and Regional Councils.
”The UCC, by its very nature, has the potential to disproportionately affect such tribal communities and undermine their right to practice and preserve their traditional practices, customs and identities,” he said.
Further, implementing a uniform code without considering the socio economic disparities that exist in our society can have adverse consequences, he said. ”Different communities have varying levels of development, education, and awareness, and a one-size-fits-all approach may exacerbate existing inequalities,” the CM added.
UCC also has potential to create deep divisions and social unrest among religious communities. Further, ”any attempt to impose a uniform code may be perceived as an overreach by the State into religious matters, setting a worrisome precedent for future encroachments on personal liberties,” he argued. Stalin’s letter came a day after his party, the DMK, wrote to the Law Commission strongly arguing against UCC.
The DMK chief in his letter pointed to the Constitutional provisions on the right to profess a religion of one’s choice. Religious practices are the basis for most of the personal laws of the respective communities and hence any changes them cannot be done without the consent of the religious communities.
”Considering the fact that even among the people professing the same religion, the practices and beliefs vary from place to place and region to region, such a consent is impossible without reaching a consensus among them. Due to this and among many other factors, the UCC, mentioned as an aspirational goal in Article 44 of the Constitution, has been opposed time and again,” he said.
The 21st Law Commission of India in its consultation paper in August 2018 had also stated that UCC is ”not preferable”. ”Hence, any hasty introduction of UCC will not only result in a Constitutional breakdown but would also lead to communal disharmony and chaos in the country. Personal Laws provide certain protection and rights to minority communities and we consider any attempt to implement UCC is an effort to obliterate the unique religious/cultural identity of minorities including the tribals and create an artificially homogenous majoritarian society,” he averred.
With inputs from News18