“Personal Laws are Detrimental to any Country, Uniformity of Laws is of Paramount Importance”: Firoz Bakht Ahmed
   25-Nov-2019
 
 
 
 
 

Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad moved a PIL in the Delhi high court seeking directions to the Centre to frame a Uniform Civil Code within three months and publish it for debate. An Indian Civil Code for all citizens throughout the territory of India is essential to promote national integration besides strengthening Article 44. In an interview to Organiser, he spoke about the need for UCC. Excerpts:

 
 

What is the purpose of this petition for implementing the Uniform Civil Code?

 
 
You see, uniformity of laws for any nation is of paramount importance as it has been the parameter in most countries. However, in India, there are different surrogacy laws governing different religions and ethnic groups which is a dangerous trend and should be stopped. Uniform Civil Code is the need of the hour.
 
 

 Do you find any lacuna in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board?

 
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is a tower of Babel. It feels it has the right to dictate terms on issues that extend from the public domain of Indian Muslims to the privacy of their bedroom. Stoke a controversy involving the community and the usual suspects start emerging from the infested woodwork of the AIMPLB. Time and again, especially in the matters like triple talaq and Ram Mandir, the Board has led the entire Muslim community astray through its voice of insanity.
 
 

Are personal laws detrimental to a country like India?

 
 
Definitely! These are detrimental to not only India but to any country. I am sorry to say that these laws have turned the nation into a divided house. No country in the world allows personal laws. In fact, some provisions of these laws are as outdated and inhuman, as in the stone age. Apart from that, a parallel judiciary too will be injurious to the Indian paradigm.
 

 
Will the Muslim clerics support you?

 
 
More than the clerics, I am concerned about the general good of the masses and especially, the beleaguered and harassed Muslim community that for almost six decades had been abused and misused as vote bank by the Congress. Travesty with the clerics is that they trample on the otherwise broad principles of Islam into myopic dogmas to make way for their political ends by taking the entire community to ransom. They are responsible for bringing Islam into disrepute. It is high time that they stopped this disservice to the religion and follow Islam in its true spirit.
  

But don’t you think that that the provisions granted in the Indian Constitution will be violated?

 
 
Certainly not! I would like to term it as “Indian Civil Code.” An Indian Civil Code for all citizens throughout the territory of India is essential to promote fraternity, communal harmony and national integration. It proceeds on the assumption that there is no connection between religion and personal laws in a civilised society. The objective of Article 44 is not to encroach upon religious liberties guaranteed under Article 25 and 14.
 
 

But what is the need to do it now?
 

 
Frankly speaking, the need to do it was immediately after the Independence. Now it is time to prepare a model draft of Indian Civil Code in spirit of Article 14 and 44 of the Constitution of India within three months, while
considering the best practices of all religions and sects, civil laws of the developed countries and international
conventions, in order to secure gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women, guaranteed under Article 21 and publish it on their websites for extensive public debate, discussion and feedback.
 

Will it jeopardise the diversity of our culture?
 

 
Never! In fact, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, during the Constituent Assembly debate said: “In fact, bulk of these different items of civil laws have already been codified during the British rule and the major items still remaining for a Uniform Civil Code are marriage, divorce, inheritance and succession”.
 
 

If Uniform Civil Code is implemented, who will be the immediate beneficiary?

 
Women, of course. I feel that women, especially Muslim women, will benefit from it. Take, for example, shunting of Muslim women out of home, social vices like instant triple talaq at one go, the infamous whoring practices like “Halala” or polygamy, have been misused while quoting personal laws. In Muslim community, there is no compatibility between the ages of man and woman since there is no age bar for the marriage of a girl, who can be married off from age 12 onwards, which is an inhuman crime.
 
 

Why do you want to term it as “Indian Civil Code”?

 
 
This certainly sounds better. It is more comfortable and safer than the nomenclature, “Uniform Civil Code”! An Indian Civil Code for all citizens throughout the territory of India is essential to promote fraternity, unity and national integration. It should proceed on the assumption that there is no connection between religion and personal laws in a civilised society.