Dr. Ambedkar, Premchand, AK Iyer strongly advocated in the Constituent Assembly
New Delhi: Every year 26 November is celebrated as Constitution Day in our country. On 26 November 1949, our Constituent Assembly adopted the constitution which came into force on 26 January 1950. The debate on the issue of Uniform Civil Code in the Constituent Assembly is one of the most interesting debates.
The Allahabad High Court also recently made a comment supporting the Uniform Civil Code and also asked the Center to work towards its implementation.
in the Constituent Assembly
November 23, 1948 This issue was discussed in detail in the Constituent Assembly. First the Muslim members spoke and many people talked about Article 35 which included provisions related to having a uniform civil code in the country. proposed amendments, Mohd Ismail, Naziruddin Ahmed, Mehboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur, Hussain Imam were some of the members who introduced these amendments.
Naziruddin Ahmed moved an amendment saying that the following provision should be added to Article 35
‘Provided that any community has a personal law, which is guaranteed by law, it shall not be changed without the prior approval of that community. Legal provisions will be taken to get this approval.
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Participating in this debate, Ahmed said, ‘I do not want to limit my remarks only to the inconvenience caused to the Muslim community. I would put it on a very broad basis. In fact, every community, adherent of every faith has some sectarian laws, some civil laws are inseparably linked to sectarian beliefs and practices. I believe that these cult laws or quasi-sectarian laws should be kept away from a Uniform Civil Code.
Introducing another amendment, Mohammed Ismail, a Muslim member of the Constituent Assembly from the then Madras, said, “Sir, I propose that the following provision be added to Article 35: Provided that no group, class or community of people shall In the event of such a law, he shall not be compelled to give up his personal law.
Taking part in this debate, Ismail opposed the Uniform Civil Code. He said, ‘The right of a group or community to follow its own law is one of the fundamental rights and this provision should be included in the fundamental rights that are really statutory and just. It is for this reason that I, along with other friends, have proposed to amend some of the earlier articles, which I will move at an appropriate time. Now the right to obey personal laws is part of the way of life of those who are abiding by such laws; It is part of their faith and part of their culture. If anything affecting the personal laws is done, it will amount to interference in the way of life of those who have been following these laws for generations and ages. This secular state that we are trying to build should not do anything to interfere in the opinion and creed of the people.
All these arguments were countered by Dr. BR Ambedkar, Kanhaiyalal Maniklal Munshi (KM Munshi) and Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer.
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Strongly supporting a Uniform Civil Code for the country, Ambedkar said, “I think most of my friends who have spoken on this amendment have forgotten that the North-West Frontier Province was not subject to Sharia law until 1935. . It followed Hindu law in the matter of succession and in other matters, a practice so widespread and strong that finally in 1939 the Central Legislature had to come to the ground and revoke the Hindu law for the Muslims of the North West Frontier Province and punish them. Sharia law was implemented.
He further said, ‘I understand their feelings in this matter, but I think they are getting a little more apprehensive about Article 35. This article only proposes that the State shall endeavor to secure a civil code for the citizens of the country.
Taking part in this debate, KM Munshi said very interestingly, ‘… Look at the losses which will increase if there is no civil code. Take Hindus for example. We have ‘Mayukh’ law in force in some parts of India; We have ‘Mitakshara’ laws in other parts; And we have a law called ‘Dayabagh’ in Bengal. Thus Hindus themselves also have different laws and most of our provinces have started making separate Hindu laws for themselves. Are we going to allow these piecemeal laws on the ground that it affects the personal law of the country? So it is not only a question of minorities but also affects the majority.
Taking the example of one of the Islamic rulers himself, he further said, ‘Under British rule this attitude of mind that personal law is part of the sect has been promoted by the British and the British courts. So we should go ahead and leave it. If I remind the honorable member… Alauddin Khilji made many changes, which were against the Shariat, although he was the first ruler to establish a Muslim Sultanate here.
The Qazi of Delhi objected to some of his reforms, and his reply was- ‘I am an ignorant person and I am ruling in the best interest of this country. I am sure, in view of my ignorance and my good intentions, the Almighty will forgive me when he comes to know that I have not acted according to Shari’a.’ ‘If Alauddin cannot do this, then the modern government cannot at all accept the proposition that cult rights include personal law or many other matters, which unfortunately we have to accept as part of our sect or sect. I have been trained to obey.
AK Iyer said in favor
Speaking in favor of Uniform Civil Code and opposing the amendments proposed by Muslim members, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer said that one objection has been filed that Uniform Civil Code will lead to animosity among communities, while the truth is quite the opposite. The idea behind a Uniform Civil Code is to eliminate the factors that lead to differences.
At the end of the debate, amendments proposed by some Muslim members were rejected. The members of the Constituent Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Uniform Civil Code being part of the Constitution.
(The author is the Director of Research at the Center for Idea Exchange, an RSS-affiliated think-tank. Views IGed are personal)
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