Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale on Sunday said there should be a public debate on the Uniform Civil Code, reported PTI. He, however, left it to the government to decide if it was time to bring a bill on it or not. The RSS is the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In a virtual meet organised by the think-tank India Foundation on the foundation day of the RSS, Hosabale said the Uniform Civil Code was mentioned in the Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy. But the architects of the Constitution never recommended a time frame to implement it, he added.

“It is for the government to decide whether it is a good time or not to [bring a bill on UCC],” said Hosabale. “We have to educate people about it first. There should be a proper public debate about it as it helps in clearing perceptions. People did not know what Article 370 or Article 35A was. Educating people is important.” He was referring to the provision on special status to Jammu and Kashmir that was scrapped in August last year.

He also deplored the use of abusive language on social media. “Trolling on social media should be condemned, use of abusive language on especially against women on these platforms should be stopped,” he added.

The UCC, if implemented, will override all personal laws with a common set of rules governing every citizen. In the absence of such a code, various faiths have their own personal laws on matters such as marriage, divorce and succession. Establishing such a code has been on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s agenda for long. It was also on its manifesto for the 2019 General Elections.

During the Parliament’s Monsoon Session in September, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was committed to bringing a Uniform Civil Code, but it requires wider consultations. “Article 44 of the Constitution of India states that the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory,” Prasad had said. “The government is committed to honour this Constitutional mandate. However, this requires wide scale consultations.”

In September 2019, the Supreme Court said that the ruling government had made no attempt to frame a Uniform Civil Code even though the makers of the Constitution had expressed hope for such a law. The top court had noted that Goa was a “shining example” of a state that had uniform civil laws.