|ALL INDIA MUSLIM
Justice Khare’s Obiter Dicta not Binding on Govt. or Parliament
In a Religious Community, Human Life at all
Stages is Governed by Scriptural Mandates
AIMMM Appeals to Nation not to Place
Another Controversial Issue on National Agenda
New Delhi, 26 July, 2003: Shri Syed Shahabuddin, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), has issued the following Statement:
"In his judgement in a case relating to the applicability to the Christians of the Indian Succession Act, 1926 Chief Justice Mr. V.N. Khare has expressed his regret at the delay in the introduction of the uniform civil code.
Unwittingly he has revived a controversial issue which had been put to sleep by the NDA in 1999. His obiter dicta is not binding on the Government or on the Parliament but it has come as a windfall for the Sangh Parivar to stir communal polarization in an already much divided nation.
The AIMMM notes that Article 37, the first article in the Chapter on Directive Principles of State Policy, lays down the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws but not to make laws to apply them. In our Constitutional system it is the prerogative of the Government to initiate and of the Parliament to enact laws. The Government is, therefore, the best judge as to when and in which circumstances and in what form to give effect to Article 44. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had cautioned the Government in the Constituent Assembly against imposition of uniform civil code on any unwilling community. This explains why successive Governments, since independence, have refused to enact a Code without a national consensus or even to interfere in the personal law of any community unless the community itself so desired. This is in consonance with the repeated assurances given to the Muslim community during the Freedom Movement.
The AIMMM fails to understand Justice Khare’s logic. From birth to death, human life, in all religious societies, is governed by religion and by mandatory rites and rituals. The Constitution brackets Freedom of Conscience with Freedom of Religion. The Constitution cannot, therefore, ignore the essentials of a religious faith based on the scriptures. That is why the Shariat (Application) Act, 1939 is still the law of the land. Many Muslim States have adopted modern family codes but they are all (with the exception of Turkey) based on the Shariat. There is always a case for social reform within the framework of the Shariat but not for the separation of Muslim Personal Law from the Quran and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet.
Justice Khare has also spoken of common civil code as a factor for national integration. Integration does not mean assimilation; coercion cannot promote integration. Equality does not mean uniformity. Diversity of laws flows from social plurality and does not attract Article 14.
The AIMMM considers that the idea of a common civil code is impracticable today. That is why, in more than 50 years no one has placed before the nation even a working draft of the ‘common’ civil code which takes into account the essential religious requirements of all communities.
The AIMMM calls upon the government and the political parties and the mass media not to load the shoulders of the nation, already bent double under the weight of many controversial, with yet another controversial issue."
Sd/- Syed Shahabuddin
ALL INDIA MUSLIM
N-44, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi - 110 025 Phone: 2632
6780 Fax: 2632 7346 Email: