Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Tuesday wrote to the Law Commission of India that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is against the interest of the ethnic minorities in general and the Mizos in particular.
Zoramthanga, also the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) president, said that his party believes that UCC is in conflict with the religious and social practices of the Mizos and their customary laws that are protected by the Art 371(G) of the Constitution.
The MNF is a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the regional version of the NDA.
Zoramthanga’s statement came days after Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, whose party NPP is also a member of NEDA, asserted that the UCC “in its present form” is against the idea of India.
“Since the proposed implementation of UCC throughout the territory of India is in conflict with the religious and social practices of the Mizos and of their customary/personal law which is specifically protected by constitutional provision, the said proposal of the NDA government at the Centre as can be seen in the Law commission notice cannot be accepted,” Zoramthanga said in his letter.
Last month, the Law Commission issued a public notice inviting views from various stakeholders on the UCC under the “Review of Personal Laws” subject.
The chief minister said that MNF supports the policies and programmes of the NDA government at the Centre as long as those are found to be beneficial for the public at large and particularly for the ethnic minorities in the country.
Zoramthanga also said that Article 371(G) of the Constitution states that no act of Parliament in respect of religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, ownership and transfer of land, shall apply to Mizoram unless the state legislature by a resolution so decides.
Zoramthanga informed the Law Commission that the Mizoram assembly had passed an official resolution on February 14 opposing any step towards enactment of the UCC in the country.
The said resolution was moved, discussed and thereafter unanimously adopted by the state assembly for the reasons that the UCC, if enacted, “would disintegrate the country as it was an attempt to terminate the religious or social practices, customary laws, culture and traditions of the religious minorities, including the Mizos,” he said in the letter.
Meanwhile, the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, a conglomerate of church leaders’ bodies in the state, also wrote to the Union Law Commission that it strongly opposed implementation of UCC in the country.
The Committee claimed in its letter that the UCC is detrimental to the unity in diversity of Indian culture, religions and customs and is undermining the rights and privileges of the Mizos enshrined in Article 371(G) of the Constitution.
The Nagaland Tribal Council late last month had also written to the Law Commission that the UCC, if implemented, will dilute the provisions of Article 371A of the Constitution which states about special provisions for the state.
Uniform Civil Code is aimed at replacing personal laws based on religions, customs, and traditions with one common law for everyone irrespective of religion, caste, creed, sexual orientation, and gender. Personal laws and laws related to inheritance, adoption and succession are likely to be covered by a common code.
Implementation of a UCC has been part of BJP election manifestos.