Chaos ensued in the Rajya Sabha as BJP’s Kirodi Lal Meena introduced the Uniform Civil Code of India Bill 2020 as a Private Members’ Bill amid strong opposition. The Code seeks to abolish personal laws based on religion.
Three motions against the bill, claiming it would divide the country and damage its multiculturalism, were defeated by a vote of 63 to 23.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal argued after fierce opposition from several political parties that it was a member’s legal right to ask questions in line with the constitution’s guiding principles. “Let this topic be debated in the House … to slander the administration at this stage, to try to criticize the bill, is not necessary,” he said.
Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar then took an oral vote on the bill, with a majority of 63 votes to 23 against.
According to the legal news website Live Law, one member of Congress believes that it is impossible to introduce a bill that has such a broad impact on people’s lives without extensive public consultation with various communities.
CPI(M) MP John Brittas referred to a Law Commission report which said a uniform civil code was neither necessary nor desirable.
DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said the idea of a unified civil code was itself anti-secularism.
RG Verma of the Samajwadi party also opposed the bill, saying it was against constitutional provisions.
BJP MP Harnath Singh Yadav gave a zero-hour notice in the Rajya Sabha to discuss implementing a Uniform Civil Code in the country.
The Act provides for the composition of the National Commission of Inspection and Investigation to prepare the Uniform Civil Code and its implementation in India.
In the past, although bills were listed as introductions, the House of Lords did not move them.
The BJP pledged in its Gujarat manifesto to introduce a uniform civil code in the state, a bill that was tabled in the upper house just a day after their historic victory in Prime Minister Modi’s home state.
The BJP also pledged in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto to implement the UCC if it comes to power.