IOS Lecture on Uniform Civil Code (FEB. 26,2007)

New Delhi, February 26: A Uniform Civil Code, once it is legislated, cannot be imposed on sections of society or communities which don’t agree to it, Justice AS Qureshi, retired judge of Gujarat High Court said here today.

Justice Qureshi was speaking on Uniform Civil Code and Group Rights in the sixth lecture of the IOS lecture series on the Indian Constitution.

He said that the Directive Principles of the Constitution enjoin upon the state to work towards having a Uniform Civil Code for all Indians at some point of time.

Justice Qureshi said a Uniform Civil Code did not mean an extension of the Hindu Law to cover all religious groups. As it is India has different set of laws (especially Personal Laws) for different communities and regions.

He quoted Dr BR Ambedkar saying that the state had the authority to legislate, but it was not supposed to legislate against the wishes of people thus affected.

In short, “the state cannot steamroll” unwilling citizens into accepting legislation that runs against the grain of their beliefs and cultural practices.

IOS General Secretary Prof. ZM Khan presided over, and Supreme Court lawyer Mushtaque Ahmad conducted the proceedings.

The lecture was followed by a lively discussion in which academics, lawyers, journalists and intellectuals participated.


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