LDF, UDF bury differences, join hands in Kerala Assembly to pass resolution against move to implement UCC

Chief Minister accused Centre of attempting to implement such a controversial law unilaterally without taking the minorities into confidence.

ByK A Shaji

Published Aug 08, 2023 | 4:31 PM Updated Aug 09, 2023 | 8:09 AM

Kerala cm vijayan vd satheesan

With the Congress-led Opposition UDF joining hands with the ruling LDF in Kerala, the state Assembly on Tuesday, 8 August, unanimously adopted a resolution urging the BJP-led Union government to back off from its attempts to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country.

Kerala is the second Assembly in the country — after Mizoram — to adopt such a resolution following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement over the implementation of UCC sparked controversy.

Related: Karnataka CM says UCC an unnecessary controversy created by BJP

‘Challenge to unity, integrity, diversity’

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who moved the resolution, accused the Union government of attempting to implement such a controversial law unilaterally without taking the minorities into confidence. He termed the move a challenge to the unity, integrity, and diversity of the country and its people.

He said India must remain a multi-polar, inclusive democracy where diversities are recognised and matter.
In its resolution, the government urged the Union government to withdraw from the move to implement the UCC.

The CPI(M)-led LDF government’s decision came amid an ongoing campaign against the UCC by both the ruling Left and the Opposition Congress-led UDF, as well as various religious organisations in the state.

Both fronts had organised seminars separately in Kozhikode recently against the UCC, in which representatives of various religious organisations took part.

In a recent statement, the chief minister alleged that the “electoral agenda” of the BJP was behind raking up the issue of the UCC and he urged the Union government to withdraw from the move to impose it.

Also read: Why Congress is angry over UCC seminar held in Kerala by CPI(M)

‘Wiping out cultural diversity’

Vijayan, also a senior leader of the CPI(M), has said the Union government’s move can only be seen as a plan to implement the “majority communal agenda” of “one nation, one culture” by wiping out the country’s cultural diversity.

“The Union government and the Law Commission should withdraw from the move to impose the Uniform Civil Code,” he said.

The Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan supported the resolution, saying that the Congress and the UDF were committed to safeguarding the interests of minorities. He said Kerala would unitedly fight saffronisation moves.

Earlier, in February, the Mizoram Assembly had unanimously adopted an official resolution opposing any move to implement the UCC in the country.

While moving the resolution, Vijayan contended that the UCC as visualised by the Sangh Parivar was not according to the Constitution, rather it was based upon the Hindu legal text Manusmriti.

“That has been made clear by Sangh Parivar long back. They are not trying to implement something that is there in the Constitution. There is no need to misunderstand it like that,” he said.

Also read: CM urges Kerala MPs to take united stand on UCC in Parliament

‘Did nothing to safeguard women’

Vijayan contended that the ruling BJP Union government only criminalised the divorce laws under the Muslim personal law, but has not done anything to ensure the safety and security of women or take steps for the welfare of the marginalised.

After taking into account the modifications suggested by the Opposition, the chief minister read out the finalised resolution in which he said that the state Assembly was concerned and dismayed with the move to impose UCC as it was a unilateral and hasty decision that would take away the secular character of the country.

Vijayan said the Constitution refers to having a general civil law only as a directive principle, and it is not mandatory.

He said that when the freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution included the right to follow and practice religious personal rules, any legislation prohibiting that would be a violation of the constitutional right.

Related: Muslim women decry UCC, but seek to ensure gender parity

‘Must be preceded by debates, discussions’

The chief minister contended that Article 44 of the Constitution merely states that the state shall endeavour to establish a common civil code.

He said that any such move must be preceded by debates and discussions to create a consensus among the people, and not doing so was a matter of concern.

He said that the Kerala Assembly too shares this concern and believes that the imposition of UCC is a “non-secular move” to attack the unity of the people and the nation as a whole.

Vijayan said that even in the Constituent Assembly debates, there were differences over the UCC and BR Ambedkar’s position at that time was that Parliament can try to bring a general civil law, but he did not insist that it should be compulsory.

“He only indicated a possibility,” the chief minister contended.

(With PTI inputs)