A Lecture on Recent Supreme Court Observations regarding the Uniform Civil Code

A lecture on the Recent Supreme Court Observations regarding the Uniform Civil Code was organised by the Institute Of Objective Studies (IOS) at its Headquarters (New Delhi) on August 09,2003 at 4:30 p.m. Mr. Anoop G. Chaudhari, Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court of India delivered his lecture on the topic.

 Before the start of the lecture Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad, Advocate introduced Mr. Anoop G. Choudhary to the audience highlighting his association with various organisations. This was followed by a brief introduction of the IOS by Prof. Z. A. Nizami mentioning the working of IOS in the various fields of research and study highlighting the social and economic problems relating to the minorities specially the Muslims of the country. He informed that the IOS has until now worked on some 128 different aspects and themes concerning Islam. The much-awaited book on ‘100 Great Muslims’ is almost complete and that will be out on stands by this Dec 2003 he informed. It is for this magnificent working besides many that IOS was selected as the Roster Group with the Social And Economic Council of the United Nations. Under its various Chapters spread across the country the IOS has conducted a number of seminars and conferences highlighting various social and economic problems concerning Muslims.

 In his lecture Mr. Anoop G. Chaudhari Sr. Adv. Supreme Court of India regretted the recent observations made by the Hon’ble Judge on the uniform civil code. He observed that this remark was totally uncalled for even if it was pious and was made with some noble intentions. The problem it can create is that these words will be deliberately twisted, misinterpreted and will create far greater problems than the problem of the Common Civil Code itself. He advocated a moratorium i.e. status quo on this issue which is necessary. Change might disturb things so sometimes status quo is the best policy. He condemned the negative role of the fundamentalist organisations, which are bent upon spreading hatred and propagating vivacious lies. The issue of polygamy, Shah Bano, Maintenance of Widows and this Common Civil Code is raked every now and then, to emotional heights and garner votes. Personal law is a Hadith i.e. a religious directive and article 25 ensures religious rights of all citizens. The constitution allows us to propagate, follow and practice any religion of our choice he reiterated. Regarding marriage Advocate Chaudhari informed that as per Shariah law Muslim marriage is a contract as compared to the Hindu marriage, which is a sacrament. Breach of contract definitely invokes damages that must be adhered to. Similarly the question of Talaq has to be addressed by the Muslim community themselves. It is an intra community problem and intra community bonds should be used to solve this delicate issue. He mentioned that even in Hindus, tribals have different laws known as customary laws. And customary laws are also sometimes referred to as personal laws. Article 14 promises equality before the law. So the Common Civil Code is an option and force should never be applied to enforce it. Mr. Chaudhari welcomed the recent Supreme Court judgement by which it severely reprimanded the state government of Gujarat regarding its handling of the riot related cases and ordered it to provide security to the witnesses to avoid intimidation. He praised the decision of the court in which it decided to oversee the cases related to the riots directly.

 He further added that Legal pluralism is the need of the hour, as we are a pluralistic society. This is the greatness of the nation. He regretted that these fundamentalists hardly constitute 1-2% of the total Hindu population other wise Hindu is such a society which lights candles for Mother Mary and lays chaddars at the Mazars of the Muslim Pirs. He blamed the media for highlighting these negative people constantly. There are far greater problems than this of the common civil code. A controversy is being raked out from an observation that does not even merit a debate he regretted. In the end he thanked the IOS for taking the matter seriously and hoped that the IOS will continue to serve the interests of the minorities rigorously and painstakingly as ever.

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