Catholic body in Mangaluru urges Centre to spell out its plans by releasing draft UCC


PTI, Jul 12, 2023, 2:08 PM IST

The Mangaluru Catholic Sabha central committee on Wednesday asked the Union government to bring out a draft law on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) instead of ”creating confusion” among minorities and other communities in the country.

Addressing reporters here, Catholic Sabha president Allwyn D’Souza said the Central government’s recent pointer towards UCC has created confusion amongst different communities.

The Law Commission of India circulating a questionnaire and asking the views of different communities on it has given an impression that the government wants to somehow bulldoze a so-called UCC on all communities, he said.

If the government is serious about UCC, it should first bring out a draft law and circulate it among citizens and call for suggestions. It is not clear how the government wants to bring uniformity by circulating a questionnaire, he said.

With a draft law, the general public can give suggestions or are in a clear position either to assent to the bill if it protects their customs or oppose if it is against their interests, D’Souza said.

The statement by the central committee of the Sabha, released at the press meet, said India has been described as an ”ethnological museum” owing to its diverse culture. The diversity is due to more than 10 religions living side by side.

There are also around 3,000 castes, 25,000 sub-castes, 1,109 Scheduled Caste and 744 Scheduled Tribe sections in the country. All these religions, castes and tribes have their own distinct culture, customs, traditions, language, marriage practices, inheritance, food habits, dress habits and way of life that have been followed for centuries.

These distinct culture, traditions and religious beliefs have been protected by the Constitution through its fundamental rights. Even while framing the Constitution, unity in diversity was the motto, it said.

The customs and traditions in various communities in India were codified into personal laws in India with regard to marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption.

Though most of the laws in India are uniformly applicable to all citizens irrespective of religion, caste, class and race, the personal laws of different sects have been respected.

The practice of marriage among Hindus is totally different to practice of marriage amongst Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and others. Hence personal laws to preserve these unique practices are very much required and removal of these are detrimental to the customs and practices of particular communities, the statement said.

Trying to bring uniformity where uniformity is not possible is striking a death knell and being dismissive of all the customs and traditions. The government’s slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (taking everyone along for the prosperity of all) also promotes diversity and not uniformity, it said.

Catholic Sabha’s legal advisor Praveen Pinto and general secretary Wilma Monteiro were also present.

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