The Delhi High Court on Monday postponed its hearing on the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to be issued to the Central government to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and publish the draft on its website for a larger public discussion.
The PIL was scheduled for hearing on Monday but the matter was put off for another date as the Delhi HC had decided to restrict itself to hearing only emergency cases to avoid the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. The petition on Uniform Civil Code was filed by social activist Danish Eqbal. The petitioner has sought that Uniform Minimum Age of Marriage, Uniform Grounds of Divorce, Uniform Maintenance & Alimony, Uniform Succession and Inheritance, Uniform Adoption and Guardianship should be a part of the UCC.
The plea also spoke about how polygamy is an offense under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but, there have been multiple cases where people have converted from their religion to have multiple marriages. It also spoke about how Muslim fathers can marry off their teenage daughters because the minimum marriage age is not decided for them.
The petition also stated that 'One Nation, One Civil Law' is the basic assertion of any socialist, secular, democratic, republic and added that Article 37 inter-alia says that Directive Principles are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and the state must implement Article 44 in letter and spirit.
"Although the Instant Triple Talaq is now void and unconstitutional, other forms of oral talaq, viz., Talaq-e-Hasan and Talaq-e-Ahasan still prevail. Therefore, women are always under pressure and fear," it added.
The petition filed by the social activist also discussed how Muslim women cannot adopt a child and do not hold a right to guardianship.
"Judicial proceedings would be guided by one civil law to decide the cases relating to a minimum age of marriage, grounds of divorce, maintenance and alimony, succession and inheritance, adoption and guardianship," it added.
Uniform Civil Code places a set of laws to govern personal matters of all citizens irrespective of religion. The BJP manifesto during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections also included the formation of the Uniform Civil Code in the country.
The manifesto read, "Article 44 of the Constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonizing them with modern times."
(With inputs from ANI)