Not possible to send question-wise reply on UCC: Nitish

Patna, Jan 12 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told the Law Commission it is not possible to send a question-wise reply from the state government on viability of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

In a letter to Law Commission Chairman Justice B.S. Chauhan on Thursday, Nitish Kumar expressed his government’s inability to form an opinion on the UCC in the absence of any specific or concrete information about its contours as also due to lack of consensus on it among religious groups.

Nitish has not only rejected the 16-point questionnaire sent to the Bihar government on implementation of the Uniform Civil Code but also urged the central government to not act in haste over the sensitive issue and hold debates on the matter.

“The questionnaire has been prepared in a manner so as to force respondent to reply in specific manner. There are leading questions with limited number of choices given as probable answers, which denies the respondent any scope to frame his own independent replies,” he said.

Nitish said makers of the Constitution had thought of the Uniform Civil Code as something feasible in long run only with consensus of all stakeholders, mainly religious communities.

“The question is whether such a broad consensus exists at the moment in the society. Media reports suggest Muslim community have rejected possibility of UCC at this point of time. There is hardly any support or demand for Uniform Civil Code from any other religious group so far,” he said.

He added that India has pluralistic fabric of society in respect of long standing religious practices, which has very often been codified as laws governing personal matters.

“For Uniform Civil Code, all such community laws will have to be scrapped,” the Bihar Chief Minister said.

“The details of the proposed Uniform Civil Code have not been shared so far with the stakeholders for their comments. In the absence of any specific or concrete information about the contours of the UCC proposed by the central government, it will not be possible to form any opinion on the same,” Nitish said in his letter.

He also pointed that idea of scrapping community laws and replacing them with Uniform Civil Code should be debated first in Parliament as well as in state assemblies and at other forums of civil society before the central government thinks of going ahead with it.

“Implementing UCC without consensus of religious groups, especially minorities would create social discord,” he said.