IFIM Law College hosted panel discussions on Uniform Civil Code in India. Satya Prasoon, an associate at CLPR was a panelist at the IFIM law school where he presented a paper titled ‘Of Constitutional Mythos and Nervous Nationalism: The Pathologies of UCC.’ The discussion was spilt into two panels, the first discussing the topic: “Constitutional Perspectives of the Uniform Civil Code” and the second, “The conflict of the UCC and personal laws in India”. The first panel comprised of Ms. Geetha Menon (Senior Associate, Pramila Associates), Dr. Vedashree (Principal Oxford College of Law, Bangalore), Dr. Prashant Desai (Assistant Professor NLSIU, Bangalore) and Mr.Prasoon.
The discussion was initiated by Ms. Menon who focused on the landmark judgments where the Supreme Court gave observations on the need to draft a UCC – trail stretching from Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, 1985 all the way to ABC v. The State, 2015. (NCT of Delhi). Mr Prasoon elaborated further, by focusing on the impossibility of implementing a draft of the UCC that would consider the religious sensitivities of all the culturally diverse Indian communities. He noted that any uniform bill would necessarily impose majoritarian views on the various minorities, by citing as an example that Hindu Code Bill which did not do justice to intra-group plurality as it engulfed even Jains, Buddhist, Sikh practices into Hindu majoritarian fold.
Dr. Vedashree highlighted the relationship between the UCC and the Law Commission of India, clarifying that it would be the duty of the commission to take into full account the attitude of the general public, prior to making any concrete recommendations. Dr. Desai impressed on the audience that the fundamental rights provided ample protection against religiously motivated repressive practices as Art 13(3) (a) of the Constitution included customs and usages within the meaning of law.
The second panel of Mr. P. Krishna Bhat (Hon’ble Principal District and Sessions Judge), Mr. Mohammed Afeef (Advocate and Researcher, ALF), Dr. Corinne Kumar (President, WCM), and Mrs. Musarrath Banu (HOD Dept. of Sociology, Al – Ameen College of Arts, Science and Commerce) focused on discussing the nature of personal laws prior to examining any inherent conflict. This was a pedagogical exercise aimed at enlightening the members of the audience to the nuance and difficulty in successfully integrating the intricacies of different communities into a single code. They espoused a belief that it would be possible to achieve the similar end – result, i.e. an elimination of discrimination – through the relatively easier means of expanding the scope of judicial review to include uncodified personal laws. This would ensure that via the directive of the Court, employing well – established tests of religious essentiality, any discriminatory practices would be neutralized. The conference culminated with an engaging deliberation with the audience regarding these issues.