New Delhi, October 29
Taking cues from Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the BJP-led Gujarat Government today decided to form a committee to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting, possibly the last one under the current Bhupendra Patel government, as Assembly elections in the state are expected to be announced next week.
Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi and Union Minister Parshottam Rupala told the media that the committee would be headed by a retired high court judge. “The panel will have three to four members. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has been given powers by the Cabinet to select members,” Rupala said, adding the committee would be formed before the model code of conduct for the election comes into force.
Terming it “historic”, Sanghavi said the decision was taken as per the provisions of Article 44 of Part 4 of the Constitution, which expects the state government to apply common law for all citizens.
Rupala also asserted that the proposed UCC would not violate the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. The Hindu Marriage Act and Muslim personal laws will be covered under the UCC as these laws are not part of the Constitution, he said.
“We do not intend to override the fundamental rights of the people. The UCC is about resolving discrepancies which arise in civil disputes, such as the claim of wife or daughter claim on the property of husband or father. We have received representations from people on such issues,” said Rupala, asserting the decision had nothing to do with the coming Assembly polls.
He also dismissed the criticism that the BJP was trying to “polarise” Hindu votes by promising UCC.
“The committee will evaluate various aspects related to the UCC and submit its report, based on which the state government will take a final decision about its implementation. No deadline has been set for the committee to submit its report as of now,” he said.
Earlier, the BJP governments in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh had announced the implementation of the UCC.
Both BJP and AAP are engaged in a tough battle to woo Hindu voters in the state. The decision follows rival AAP’s move urging the Centre to include pictures of deities on currency notes.
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- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said AAP would announce on November 4 the name of its chief ministerial face for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections on the basis of opinion given by the people of the state.
- Addressing a press conference, the AAP’s national convener urged people to contact the party through SMS, WhatsApp, voice mail and e-mail to give their views about who should be the CM candidate from the party
- He said there was an atmosphere of change in Gujarat and people believed that AAP was going to form a government in the state. PTI
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