Before UCC, need uniform caste code: DMK opposes UCC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Before UCC, need uniform caste code: DMK opposes UCC

By, Chennai
Jul 13, 2023 01:05 AM IST

Among Tamil Nadu’s population, 87% are Hindus, 7% Christians and 6% Muslims, Durai Murgan said, describing the state as a “paradise for peaceful coexistence of all religions”

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu wrote to the Law Commission of India registering its “strong objection” to the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and recommended the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government to not implement it, adding that the UCC is against cooperative federalism, and harms Hindu culture and religious harmony in the country.

DMK was responding to the Law Commission, which has sought views of the public about the implementation of UCC. (PTI)
DMK was responding to the Law Commission, which has sought views of the public about the implementation of UCC. (PTI)

The party was responding to the Law Commission, which has sought views of the public about the implementation of UCC.

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“Before uniform civil code for all religions, we need a uniform caste code, to eliminate caste discrimination and atrocities,” DMK general secretary Durai Murugan said in a statement. “The ruling BJP’s obsession with one nation, one language, one culture is now spilling over into one civil code.”

BJP’s ally in Tamil Nadu, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kzahagam (AIADMK) has also maintained its stance that they do not support the UCC. The state unit of the BJP had earlier reacted that they hoped AIADMK would change their position and that all parties can be on board to enact the UCC.

“The issue of UCC has widespread ramifications on the rights of citizens of all denominations and has a potentially disastrous effect on the secular ethos, law and order, peace and tranquillity in the state and intrusion into the legislative powers conferred under the Constitution to states,” the state’s ruling party said.

Among Tamil Nadu’s population, 87% are Hindus, 7% Christians and 6% Muslims, Durai Murgan said, describing the state as a “paradise for peaceful coexistence of all religions” where communal violence is nearly non-existent. “The introduction of a divisive law like the UCC for political gains will disturb the peace, tranquillity, and harmony between the religious groups in Tamil Nadu and therefore is not desirable in the interest of the public,” he said. “Conflicts between ethnic or religious groups can lead to terrible violence, like in the state of Manipur, which the union and state government have been unable to control till date.”

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a speech in Bhopal in June, pushing for the UCC, the DMK has been urging that first uniformity has to be brought amongst the Hindus.

Despite an order by the Supreme Court and the Madras high court, provisions of Hindu Succession Act haven’t been extended to Scheduled Tribes by the Union Government, the DMK pointed out, adding that the UCC will also wipe out the unique concept of the Hindu Undivided Family.

“The Union must also consider that even within Hindus, it is impossible to have one common set of laws applicable to all sects, sub-sects of Hinduism,” Durai Murugan said. “In such a scenario, the question arises that when UCC cannot be uniform even amongst Hindus, how can it be implemented across the board to other religions?”

The DMK also raised a concern about the legislative competence of a state over marriage and divorce since the Union and state governments both have powers under entry 5 of List III (Concurrent List) in the Indian Constitution currently. If legislated, the Uniform Civil Code will apply to all citizens within India and it cannot be varied by the states, even after obtaining the assent of the President of India, the party said.

A state government being closer to people than the Union is in a better position to assess people’s needs, the DMK said.

“In such circumstances, taking away the power of the states to enact laws tailor made to the needs of their people is unconstitutional and against the principles of cooperative federalism,” the DMK said.

The ruling party suggested to the Union government that they should follow the practice of self-respect marriages (performed by friends, family without priests) introduced by the party founder C N Annadurai as well as the policy of chief minister M K Stalin to induct temple priests of all castes.

“There can always be special statutes or provisions enacted for those who do not wish to be bound by the customary practices, while keeping intact the personal laws for the believers,” the DMK said.

“Our unity in diversity is an example to the world and must be cherished and nurtured, not be sacrificed at the false altar of uniformity,” Durai Murugan said.

“Ultimately, one law for the lion and ox is oppression. Each religion has evolved its unique, distinct custom and tradition over centuries of practice, in keeping with their beliefs and religious texts. To upset them with brute force is nothing short of tyranny and oppression and must not be committed by the State, which acts as parens patriae (parent of the nation as per law),” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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