Lucknow/ New Delhi: The Law Commission's decision to invite views on the contentious Uniform Civil Code on Thursday drew criticism from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and other Muslim organisations which said they will boycott it and accused the Modi government of waging a "war" against the community.
As the Muslim outfits claimed a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) will "kill" India's pluralism, right wing organisations like BJP and Shiv Sena, long-time votaries of a common code, strongly supported the government's decision, insisting it would bolster gender equality and end discrimination against women.
Centrist parties like Congress and JD(U) said the idea of UCC was "unimplementable" and accused the BJP-led government of trying to polarise the people ahead of the assembly polls in several states, including key battle ground state Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, the AIMPLB members and representatives of Muslim organisations contended the UCC, if implemented, will paint all people in "one colour" which will threaten the country's pluralism and diversity.
Trashing government's stand on the issue of triple talaq, the outfits claimed the community has reported lesser number of divorce cases vis-a-vis other communities, especially the Hindu community which, they said, has reported higher divorce ratio according to Census 2011.
AIMPLB general secretary Wali Rehmani, Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani and representatives of other bodies said all the Muslim sects and its women were "one" on these issues.
They said the outfits will launch a campaign to create awareness among Muslims from Thursday, beginning with a gathering in Lucknow.
The Board members, however, admitted that there were "flaws" in the personal laws governing Muslims and they were addressed from time-to-time.
They said the country is facing problems on various fronts including the LoC and issues like killings elsewhere.
"This is all destructive. The government should try to fix this and ensure peace than seeking views on issues like UCC," Madani said.
Contrary to the Commission's claim that the step is an "endeavour" to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise the various cultural practices, Rehmani said when implemented the UCC will bring to an end country's pluralism and paint all in "one colour" and finish diversity.
"Also, we don't want the practice of triple talaq to be abolished. There are more divorces in other communities.
Rather the highest rate, which is double that of Muslims, is among Hindus," he claimed
Amid row over "triple talaq", All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) will also start a nation-wide signature campaign on Friday among Muslims against the central government affidavit in the Supreme Court on the matter.
"The affidavit filed by the central government on the matter of triple talaq is a direct infringement on the Shariat and a nation-wide signature campaign will start from tomorrow on this matter," senior AIMPLB member Khalid Rasheed Farangimahli said in Lucknow on Thursday.
The campaign will start in the state from the Aishbagh Idgah after the Friday prayers on Friday, he said.
A letter to this effect has been sent to imams of all the mosques in the state appealing to them to take active part in this exercise to protect Islamic Shariat which will be read out just before the Friday namaz on Frirday, Farangimahli said.Earlier,
Meanwhile, Law Commission Chairman B S Chauhan on Thursday sounded surprised over the decision of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to boycott the questionnaire of the panel on Uniform Civil Code (UCC), but refused to comment on the controversy.
"I have no comments to offer. The only thing I would like to state is that we have only floated the documents for public comments. No report has been finalised," he said to a poser on the AIMPLB questioning the decision of the law panel to seek public comments on UCC and the issue of 'triple talaq'.
Talking to PTI, the former Supreme Court judge said seeking public comments on issues of importance is a practice successive Commissions have followed.
In an appeal issued on October 7, the Commission had said the objective of the endeavour was to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise various cultural practices.
In the appeal, it has assured the people that the "norms of no one class, group or community will dominate the tone and tenor of family law reforms".
Justice Chauhan had said in the appeal that the family law reform has to view women's rights as an end in itself rather than a matter of constitutional provision, religious right and political debate.
Indicating need for wider consultation before taking a call on Uniform Civil Code, the government had in June asked the Law Commission to examine the issue.
The move asking the law panel to examine the issue assumes significance as the Supreme Court had recently said it would prefer a wider debate, in public as well as in court, before taking a decision on the constitutional validity of 'triple talaq', which many complain is abused by Muslim men to arbitrarily divorce their wives.
On October 7, the Centre in an affidavit in the Supreme Court had opposed the practice of triple talaq....