Delhi HC refuses to entertain plea seeking introduction of Uniform Civil Code
The court expressed its inability to direct legislation and suggested that the petitioners could approach the Law Commission with their suggestions
The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a plea seeking introduction and implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country and pointed out that the Law Commission of India was already looking into the matter.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna observed that the Supreme Court of India in April had said that enactment of a law falls within the domain of the legislature, so an order or writ cannot be issued to the legislature.
The Public Interest Litigations filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others including Nighat Abbas and Amber Zaid were withdrawn. In the petition, Upadhyay had sought a direction on the union government to constitute a Judicial Commission or a High-Level Expert Committee to draft a UCC, after considering best practices of all religions and sects, civil laws of developed countries and international conventions.
"We cannot direct the legislature to enact a law. Supreme Court has already dealt with the issue and rejected the petitions," said the bench. The court pointed out that as the Law Commission was looking into the subject, the petitioners could approach the Law Commission with their suggestions.
In June, the 22nd Law Commission headed by former Karnataka chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi had sought suggestions from people across the country on the UCC, even though the 21st Law Commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice BS Chauhan had stated that UCC was neither necessary nor desirable.
The lead petition was filed by Upadhyay in 2019 and the Law Ministry had sought dismissal of the petition stating that UCC could only be introduced after an in-depth study of various personal laws governing different communities and cannot be done in three months based on court orders.
The law ministry had then pointed out that according to the Constitution, only Parliament could undertake this task and a court could not direct the legislature to do so.