Uniform Civil Code: Apex Court dismisses PIL challenging States forming committees for implementation

The Apex Court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition today 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.