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BJP Issues Whip Asking its MPs To Be Present In Parliament; Triggers UCC Speculations

Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall aim to secure a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for the citizens throughout the territory of India.

New Delhi| The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India Bill, 2020 is said to be introduced in the parliament on Tuesday, February 11, since BJP has issued a three-line whip to all its MPs of Rajya Sabha asking them to be present in the House and support the stand of the government.

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) seeks to scrap the separate civil laws applicable for minorities in religious and cultural affairs.

A Uniform Civil Code is one that would cater one law for the entire country, applicable to every religious community in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.

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Article 44 is one of the directive principles. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance. Fundamental rights are enforceable in a court of law. While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall, in particular, direct its policy”; “shall be the obligation of the state” etc. Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavour by suitable legislation” while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44. All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.

An unsigned document listing few pending bills including legislation on Uniform Civil Code started circulating on Monday evening. Rajya Sabha secretariat, however, stated that the document may be a fake. Senior Upper House officials said that no new bill is likely to be introduced as none has gone through the mandatory listing process.

Tuesday is the last day of the Budget session before it heads for a break.

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