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In first affidavit on UCC, Centre tells SC varied laws inhibit national unity

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New Delhi, Oct 18: The Centre on Tuesday submitted its first affidavit in the Supreme Court with regard to the Uniform Civil Code. In its affidavit, the government said that varied laws inhibit national unity and the UCC divests personal law.

The affidavit was filed in response to several petitions seeking uniformity in the personal laws. Six petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court in which directions were sought to frame frame religion and gender-neutral uniform laws for divorce, adoption, guardianship, succession, inheritance, maintenance, marriage age, and alimony.

In first affidavit on UCC, Centre tells SC varied laws inhibit national unity

The Supreme Court had urged the Centre to clarify its position on the possibility of introducing UCC throughout the country. It also requested a detailed response from the Centre on issue.

"A writ of Mandamus cannot be issued to the legislature to enact particular legislation. This is a matter of policy for the elected representatives of the people to decide and no direction in this regard can be issued by the Court. It is for the legislature to enact or not to enact a piece of legislation", the Law Ministry said.

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The ministry said that the goal of Article 44 is to enhance the object of the Secular, Democratic Republic as stated in the preamble of the Constitution. Article 44 is a regulatory principle which requires the state to secure a uniform civil code for all people.

The ministry also said that the clause is intended at fostering the integration of India by bringing communities together on a single common platform on issues that are now regulated by diverse personal laws. Hence considering the relevance and sensitivity of the subject, an in-depth study of diverse personal laws are needed. The matter will now be placed before the 22nd law panel.

What is the Uniform Civil Code?
A Uniform Civil Code would replace the personal laws which are based on scriptures and customs of every religious community in India. Article 44 of the Directive Principles in India sets its implementation as duty of the State. There have been several debates over the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.

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However, governments have not been successful in its implementation due to diversity and religious laws which differ from each community, caste or religion.

The BJP was in fact the first party to promise its implementation if elected. Goa incidentally is the only state which has a uniform civil code. The Goa Family Law, is the set of civil laws, originally the Portuguese Civil Code, continued to be implemented after its annexation in 1961 according to Wikipedia.

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