Amid a raging debate over the implementation of a uniform civil code in the country, Law Commission chairman Justice (retd.) B S Chauhan on Thursday said the code has been in place in many laws and not been linked to religion.
The government had last month asked the law panel to examine the implementation of the common code. While the move was opposed by some political parties and activists, ruling BJP had hailed it.
“It (uniform code) had never been linked to religion in many cases,” Justice Chauhan told PTI.
Supporting his observation, he said Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Evidence Act, Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and UP Abolition of Zamindari Act are some legislations where a common law is applicable to all without consideration of religion.
He said these laws do not discriminate on religious lines. “These laws have been observed for years and no one has raised any question. Most people are perhaps unaware that common code exists in many laws,” he said.
He, however, said it is too early for him to say anything concrete on the Law Ministry reference.
“We will have to examine the various issues involved, segregate them and then talk to various people on those lines…We will have to see whether it is time to regulate the various laws in one go or in phases or to regulate them (in one common code) at all,” he said.
He said the Commission will take time to present its report to the government. After sorting out various issues, it will seek public opinion by perhaps putting up a consultation paper on its website.
Taking over as the new Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad had yesterday said the decision to refer the matter to the law panel should not be linked to the election in Uttar Pradesh due next year.
Prasad said there was a need for “wider consultation” on the issue before arriving at a decision.
Implementation of a uniform civil code is one of the core issues of BJP and the Sangh Parivar but the NDA governments in 1998 and 1999 and the current dispensation headed by Narendra Modi have put the contentious issues like scrapping of Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and construction of Ram temple on the back burner.