Mandatory UCC affront to idea of legal pluralism: Jamiat to panel

A mandatory Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is imposition of one identity over diverse identities, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind told the Law Commission of India on Monday.

“A mandatory uniform code shall be affront to the cherished principle of legal pluralism. A uniform code shall push our country many steps back from inclusivity and tolerance,” Jamiat said in a response to the Commission.

On June 14, the 22nd Law Commission had said that it was examining the subject matter of UCC and sought views of the public on the issue. The window for responses ends June 15.

Jamiat, in a 14-point response, emphasised that a “strict interpretation” of gender equality will put an undue burden on women. “Muslim Personal Law (Shariat), the burden of maintenance of the entire family is upon the husband/father. A code based on strict interpretation of ‘equality’ shall mean the burden of maintenance to be shared by the wife/mother equally,” the Jamiat said.

“Under Muslim Personal Law (Shariat), a man pays dower, or say mahar, at the time of marriage. A code based on strict interpretation of ‘equality’ shall either mean women being forced to forgo their dowers or being coerced to pay dowers to men. Needless to mention, the shift in the law of dower will impact the contractual nature of a Muslim marriage,” the response stated.

Jamiat argued that the “inheritance law of Shariat is based on the principles of equity“ rather than a strict interpretation of equality. “Muslim men have been tasked with the financial responsibilities of maintaining a family, their rights in property have been placed on a higher pedestal in terms of their higher financial responsibilities,” it stated.

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