Retired HC chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi takes charge as law commission head


PTI, Nov 9, 2022, 7:08 PM IST

Image Courtesy: Twitter/Kiren Rijiju

New Delhi: Retired Karnataka High Court chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, who had headed the bench which delivered the hijab verdict, on Wednesday took charge as the chairperson of the 22nd Law Commission.

The current law panel was constituted on February 21, 2020, but its chairperson and members were appointed on Monday, months before the end of the panel’s three-year term.

“Congratulated Hon Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi on assuming as the new Chairman, Law Commission of India, at my residence, New Delhi,” Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted sharing a picture of the meeting.

The government has said the issue related to the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) may be taken up by the 22nd law panel.

The law commission advises the government on complex legal issues.

Justice KT Sankaran, Professor Anand Paliwal, Professor DP Verma, Professor Raka Arya and M Karunanithi were on Monday appointed as members of the commission.

BJP Lok Sabha member Nishikant Dubey had raised the issue of the importance of having a UCC in a Zero Hour reference in December last year.

Responding to the issue, Law Minister Rijiju wrote to Dubey in January, saying Article 44 of the Constitution provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a UCC throughout the territory of India.

“In view of the importance of the subject matter and sensitivity involved and it requiring in-depth study of the provisions of various personal laws governing different communities, a proposal to examine issues relating to uniform civil code and to make recommendations has been forwarded to the 21st Law Commission of India,” he said.

However, the term of the 21st Law Commission ended on August 31, 2018.

“The matter may be taken up by the 22nd Law Commission of India,” Rijiju had said.

In June 2016, the Union law ministry had asked the 21st law panel to examine matters in relation to the UCC.

After detailed research and a number of consultations held over the course of two years, the commission had issued a consultation paper on reform of family laws in India, just before its term ended.

The UCC has been a part of successive election manifestos of the BJP.

Days ahead of polling in Himachal Pradesh, BJP president J P Nadda had on Tuesday said a UCC will be implemented through the state level.

UCC is an important issue, and the party in power has to run the country very delicately, he had said.

Justice Awasthi (retd) headed the Karnataka High Court between October 11, 2021 and July 2 this year.

In a major verdict in March, a three-judge bench of the high court comprising then chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and justices Krishna Dixit and J M Khazi upheld the ban on hijab in the state’s educational institutions.

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