The Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, the tribal wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on Saturday welcomed the stand of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sushil Kumar Modi to keep tribal communities out of a Uniform Civil Code.

A Uniform Civil Code involves a common set of laws governing marriage, divorce, succession and adoption for all Indians. Currently, different religious communities are governed by their own codes of personal law.

The BJP has claimed that the aim of such uniformity is to ensure equality and justice for women in particular, who are often denied their rights in marriage, divorce and inheritance under patriarchal personal laws.

On June 14, the Law Commission sought views on the matter from citizens and religious groups. Less than two weeks later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India needed a common civil code as the country could not run with the dual system of “separate laws for separate communities”.

In a statement, the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram on Saturday backed Sushil Kumar Modi, chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law.

During a meeting with Law Commission members and colleagues of the parliamentary committee last week, Modi reportedly questioned the feasibility of implementing a common civil code since the customs of the tribal population in the North East and other parts of India are different from other communities.

Satyendra Singh, vice-president of the tribal body, urged the Law Commission to visit tribal areas and meet the people to understand their views before submitting any report to the government on a Uniform Civil Code in the country.

The RSS affiliate said the panel should not submit its report on the issue in haste. “Kalyan Ashram is of the view that it’s very hard to understand tribal society’s traditional system in relation to the issues like marriage, divorce, adoption and succession,” it added.

The statement said that misleading and unwarranted talk on social media about a Uniform Civil Code is confusing the public.

“Right now it is not even clear what the government is going to do,” the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram said. “If the people of the tribal society and their organisations feel that because of the UCC there will be any adverse effect on their customary practices and systems, then they should put their concerns directly before the Law Commission.”

The tribal body stated that it will give its suggestions or feedback when the Uniform Civil Code Bill is tabled for discussion in Parliament.

BJP ally to oppose UCC

On Sunday, the Arunachal Pradesh unit of the National People’s Party opposed the immediate implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in the state. “Though NPP is in alliance with the BJP on developmental issues, but the regional party follows its own ideology,” state working president Likha Saaya told reporters.

National People’s Party state General Secretary Paknga Bage said that since Arunachal Pradesh has its own unique laws, therefore the outfit unanimously adopted a resolution to oppose a common code.

“The state and the central governments should focus on codifying the existing customary laws with necessary modifications to align them with tribal practices,” he added.

Also read:

  1. UCC is core ideology for the BJP – but can it ever be implemented?
  2. Why the Uniform Civil Code has few takers in the North East