The outgoing Cabinet of the Gujarat government has today moved a proposal to constitute a committee, along the lines of the one in Uttarakhand, under a retired High Court judge, to evaluate all aspects of implementing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state.
Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi is scheduled to address a press conference later today in which he is set to announce the members of the UCC panel.
Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Gujarat later this year.
In May, the Uttarakhand government had announced its decision to implement UCC in the state. The same month, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had also announced that UCC would be brought into the state soon.
The BJP and its leaders have in the past supported the implementation of UCC in the county that would replace personal laws based on scriptures and customs of various religious communities with a common set of rules governing every citizen.
However, a debate over the UCC has sparked in several states.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) termed it “an unconstitutional and anti-minorities move”, and called the rhetoric for bringing the law an attempt by Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and the Central Government to divert the attention from the concerns of inflation, economy and rising unemployment.
Earlier this month, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that it could not direct Parliament to frame or enact any law on Uniform Civil Code in the country.
The Ministry of Law and Justice in its affidavit stated that the matter of policy is for the elected representatives of the people to decide and no direction in this regard can be issued by the Centre.
It further said that Article 44 of the Indian Constitution is a directive principle, requiring states to endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens.