Uniform Civil Code…

…In a big boost to the campaign for a Uniform Civil Code, the Supreme Court has held that there was no connection between religious and personal law in a civilised society and favoured putting in place a common code governing all religious communities. The SC arrived at this conclusion a month ago.

Justice Khare said “We would like to state that Article 44 provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for its citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. The aforesaid provision is based on the premise that there is no necessary connection between religious and personal law in a civilised society.”

“It is a matter of regret that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in for framing a common civil code in the country. A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing the contradictions based on ideologies,” the Chief Justice said.

I have been reading Arun Shourie’s book “A Secular Agenda”. Fascinating read, and if not for the legalese that makes me read lines twice over, would have been unputdownable. He discusses the need for a Uniform Civil Code in a few chapters, about the history of Article 44 which says that India should strive toward implementing a Common Civil code, the observations and the intents of the individuals who framed the constitution. Riveting stuff.

The most fascinating parts are the passages where he quotes verabtim the observations made by the people who framed the constitution. I was too young when the Shah Bano case happened, but reading this book, I am ashamed about the absence of sustained public debate on the necessity of the Uniform Civil Code, the operative word here being “sustained”. It’s the nature of the modern media beast that sustained is one of those words that has been hollowed out, emptied of any meaning whatsoever.

It is our collective tragedy that the men who make our laws are such spineless, scheming, and short sighted creeps.

As an aside, it is easy to detect a pro-Hindu tilt in his writing. Some people have even called him a Hindu fanatic, but reading this book, I find it a touch difficult to digest the claim. Certainly, it is easy to see that he believes in the superiority of Hinduism; after all he does not dwell on the many faults of Hinduism in length, whereas he devotes considerable energy in pointing out flaws in the positions taken by Muslim Scholars, by the Koran itself. But superiority is probably not the right choice of word. If I have to be politically correct, maybe it’s just the belief that Hinduism is dearer to him than Islam, for whatever reason. That in itself is not wrong. Secularism does not mean a lack of faith in one’s religious beliefs, assuming one holds such beliefs. In fact, unless one is completely agnostic or atheistic, I would think it is next to impossible not to be at least somewhat judgmental. And this does not mean a bias against a different faith.

Why would someone stick to a particular faith, if not for the fact that at some primal level, one believes that this works better for him that any other faith?

Or maybe it is just convenience, as some people pretend to these days. But I have never quite bought into the convenience argument. I think it’s just hogwash.

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Posted on August 9, 2004, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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