New Delhi: The Union Justice Department told the Supreme Court that Parliament exercises the sovereign right to make laws and no outside authority can order it to enact law, recommending that petitions asking for a code Uniform Civilian (UCC) be rejected as unmaintainable. .
The ministry made the observations in an affidavit which was filed in response to motions filed by attorney Ashwini Upadhyay asking the Union government to come up with uniform religious and gender neutral laws for divorce, l adoption, guardianship, succession, inheritance, maintenance, age of marriage and alimony.
“It is a well-established position of law and has been upheld in the chain of judgments that under our constitutional system Parliament exercises the sovereign power to enact laws and no outside power or authority can order the enactment of a particular piece of legislation,” the ministry said.
“It is respectfully submitted that a writ of Mandamus (a judicial remedy in the form of a court order to a government or subordinate courts) cannot be issued to the legislature to enact particular legislation.”
“This is a matter of policy for the elected representatives of the people to decide and no direction in this regard can be issued by the Court. It is up to the legislator to enact or not to enact a law. Further, in the series of judgments, it was held that public interest litigation should not be brought solely on the basis of newspaper articles,” the Justice Department said in an affidavit filed last week. .
The Supreme Court previously called for a comprehensive response from the Union government to a batch of petitions asking the government to come up with religious and gender-neutral laws for civil matters.
Upadhyay filed five separate petitions through attorney Ashwani Kumar Dubey, asking for such laws. The BJP leader had, in August 2020, filed the PIL asking for “uniform grounds for divorce” for all citizens, in line with the spirit of the constitution and international conventions. He had filed another PIL requesting uniform grounds for maintenance and alimony “regardless of sex and religion” for all citizens, in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and international conventions.
Six PILs have been filed in the Supreme Court – four by Upadhyay, one petition filed by Lubna Qureshi and another filed by Doris Martin – seeking the enactment of a UCC.
According straight livesome of the petitions stated that although the Supreme Court or High Court “cannot direct the government to enforce section 44 of the constitution”, it can order the Union government to set up a committee to prepare a draft from UCC.
Article 44 of the Indian constitution is a guiding principle requiring the state to strive to ensure UCC for all citizens.
The Justice Department said the purpose of Section 44 is to reinforce the purpose of the “secular democratic republic” as enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution. “This provision is intended to effect the integration of India by bringing the communities on the common platform on matters which are currently governed by various personal laws. Thus, given the importance and sensitivity of the subject, an in-depth study of various personal laws is required,” the affidavit stated, according to straight live.
The department assured the High Court that it was aware of the matter and that the 21st Law Commission had undertaken a detailed review of the UCC inviting representations from several stakeholders. As the commission’s mandate ended in August 2018, the case will be referred to the 22nd Commission, he said.
Similar pleas asking the UCC are also pending in the Delhi High Court. The Union Government, in an affidavit filed with the HC earlier this year, also said a guiding principle is a matter of public policy and no direction can be issued by the court.
(With PTI inputs)