The BJP’s ideological mentor RSS has sought a public debate on the Uniform Civil Code, but left it to the government to decide whether it should bring a bill on it. In a virtual meet held by the think-tank India Foundation on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) foundation day on Sunday, its joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is mentioned in the Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy, but no time frame has been recommended by the architects of the Constitution to implement the UCC.
“It is for the government to decide whether it is a good time or not to (bring a bill on UCC). We have to educate people about it first,” Mr Hosabale said, adding both the BJP and its predecessor Jan Sangh have demanded the UCC.
“There should be a proper public debate about it (UCC) as it helps in clearing perceptions. People did not know what Article 370 or Article 35A was. Educating people is important,” he said, referring to the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, which was removed in August last year.
The UCC, if it is implemented, would override all personal laws based on scriptures and customs of communities with a common set of rules governing every citizen. Several petitions on the UCC have been heard by the Delhi High Court.
The BJP in its manifesto before the 2019 Lok Sabha election had mentioned the UCC.
Some opposition parties such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have been alleging that the BJP wants to keep the UCC issue alive as another election trump-card, arguing that before any reform related to UCC is brought it is necessary to convince the minority community about the need for it.
To another question during the virtual meeting today, the RSS joint general secretary expressed concern about the “slide in public discourse”, especially on social media. Mr Hosabale condemned trolling and underlined that incendiary remarks by “fringe elements” on social media do not represent the views of any organisation or ideology.