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Delhi High Court raises red flag on pleas seeking directions to Centre to implement Uniform Civil Code

The Delhi High Court has raised a red flag against the batch of petitions seeking directions to the Central government for enacting the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) across the country.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna said that it was not possible for them to ask the legislatures for enacting a law.

The court said that they cannot direct the legislature to enact a law as the Apex Court has already dealt with the issue and rejected the petitions.

The Court added that the Law Commission is already seized of the matter and the petitioners are at liberty to approach the Law Commission with their suggestions.

In June this year, the Law Commission of India had sought views and suggestions from the public, recognized religious organizations and other stakeholders on Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

The petitioners, including BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, Nighat Abbas and Amber Zaid then proceeded to withdraw their pleas.

Earlier on January 9, the Apex Court had dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, which challenged the decision of the States of Uttarakhand and Gujarat for constituting committees for introducing and implementing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha termed a plea filed by one Anoop Baranwal devoid of any merit and said that constitution of such committees cannot be challenged as ultra vires before courts.

The Court talked about Article 162 and said it indicates that executive power of states extends to what legislature permits it to. It further added that the Constitution of the committee cannot be challenged as ultra vires.

The Bench stated that there was nothing wrong if States form committees as Article 162 of Constitution gives the power to executive to do so.

CJI quoted that a committee can be formed under the executive powers that Article 162 gives…Look at entry 5 of concurrent list.

The Gujarat government’s Home Minister Harsh Sanghvi in October informed that the State is all set to introduce UCC.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Headquarters,held a press conference where the Home Minister Sanghvi had said that, “a demand for Uniform Civil Code was requested by people from all over the country and the Gujarat government today under the leadership of Chief Minister has decided upon this important issue.”

In May 2022, the government of Uttarakhand also formed a 5-member panel which was headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai for examining the relevant personal laws in the State and to implement UCC.

There are certain petitions pending before the Supreme Court which seek uniform grounds and procedure for divorce and uniform procedure for adoption and guardianship for all communities across the country.

The plea was opposed by Central government stating that it falls within the domain of legislature.

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