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it could not direct Parliament to frame or enact any law on UCC in country: Centre tells SC

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Supreme Court Uniform Civil Code
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The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it could not direct Parliament to frame or enact any law on Uniform Civil Code in the country.

The Ministry of Law and Justice in its affidavit stated that the matter of policy is for the elected representatives of the people to decide and no direction in this regard can be issued by the Centre.

“It is for the legislature to enact or not to enact a piece of legislation,” the ministry told the apex court.

The affidavit was filed on a plea of advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking uniformity in the personal laws regulating succession, inheritance, adoption, marriage, divorce, maintenance and alimony.

The Centre while seeking dismissal of the plea said, “It is settled position of law as has been held in a catena of judgements by this court that under our constitutional scheme, Parliament exercises sovereign power to enact laws and no outside power or authority can issue a direction to enact a particular piece of legislation.”

It further said that Article 44 of the Indian Constitution is a directive principle requiring State to endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens. The ministry said that Article 44 is to strengthen the “Secular Democratic Republic” object as enshrined in the Constitution’s Preamble.

“This provision is provided to effect integration of India by bringing communities on the common platform on matters which are at present governed by diverse personal laws. Thus, in view of the importance and sensitivity of the subject matter, in-depth study of various personal laws is required,” it said.

It told the top court that it is conscious of the matter and that the 21st Law Commission undertook a detailed examination of the issue by inviting representations from several stakeholders, however, since the said Commission’s term ended in August 2018, the matter will be placed before the 22nd Commission.

“As and when the Report of Law Commission in the matter is received, the Government would examine the same in consultation with the various stakeholders involved in the matter,” said the ministry.

The petitions sought uniform grounds for divorce, alimony, succession, inheritance, adoption, marriage, and maintenance for all citizens of the country, keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and international conventions.

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