BJP MP’s Private Bill on Uniform Civil Code Derailed in Rajya Sabha

At least three members of the upper house of the parliament raised objections to the introduction of the Bill.

New Delhi: The opposition managed to stall a private member Bill called ‘The Uniform Civil Code in India Bill, 2020’ by the BJP’s Kirodi Lal Meena in the Rajya Sabha.

At least three members of the upper house of the parliament – including MDMK’s Vaiko, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and CPI(M)’s Elamaram Kareem – raised objections to the introduction of the Bill and said that it would incite communal sentiments against the backdrop of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), according to a report in The Hindu.

To become a law, a private member’s Bill needs to be endorsed by the government and cleared by both the houses of parliament. However, a private member’s Bill becomes a law very rarely.

In the session after lunch, when Kirodi Lal Meena’s name was called out, he was absent.

Meena then reappeared in the house to move his second private member’s Bill to provide special financial assistance to Rajasthan for welfare of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes for development.

Also read: Behind BJP’s Pursuit of a Uniform Civil Code Is a Deep-Rooted Resentment of Minorities

Meena’s Bill sought to impose a uniform civil code that would subsume all personal laws. The statement for the objects and reasons of the Bill says:

“Under the Uniform Civil Code a collection of laws will be prepared which will protect the personal rights of all citizens without considering the religion, which seems to be the need of the hour. In reality this is the foundation stone of secularism.”

In a letter of the chairman, CPI(M)’s Elamaram Kareem said that the Bill, “violates the fundamental aspects of the Constitution and there is a chance to affect the communal harmony”. Kareem argued that the Bill could adversely affect the ongoing country-wide protests against the CAA.

Speaking to The Hindu, Meena said that the reason why he was absent when his name was called was because, “majority of BJP MPs were absent because of Delhi elections. And I felt that if the opposition asked for a division on whether the Bill should be introduced or not, we would have fallen short of numbers.”

According to the Indian Express, sources said that Meena was asked to remain absent as the BJP and the government did not want to draw attention towards the Uniform Civil Code, as it could trigger further unrest among the Muslim community which is already agitated over CAA and NPR, and the possible National Register of Citizens (NRC).