Millennium Post

High Court seeks Centre's response on pleas for drafting uniform civil code

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Centre's response within three weeks on a batch of petitions seeking constitution of a judicial commission to draft a uniform civil code. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the Central government on four such petitions and listed the matter for further hearing on March 23.

In a petition, BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought framing of a uniform civil code to promote national integration and gender justice, equality and dignity of women. Four other similar pleas seeking UCC have been filed on which the court sought the Centre's response on Monday.

The court also issued a notice to Upadhyay and the Centre on an application by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) seeking to be impleaded as a party in the petition filed by the BJP leader.

In May last year, the court sought Centre's response on Upadhyay's petition. However, the government is yet to file its reply and on Monday, sought more time to place its stand on record.

After Upadhyay, lawyer Abhinav Beri moved a similar plea in August last year for direction to the Centre to constitute a judicial commission or a high-level committee to draft the UCC.

A third petition was filed by Firoz Bakht Ahmed, the chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University and grandnephew of first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, in October last year.

The fourth PIL was moved by Amber Zaidi, who claims in her plea to be a social activist and media personality. Zaidi has contended that India "urgently needs a UCC or Indian Civil Code in the spirit of Article 44 read with Article 14" of the Constitution.

She has claimed she moved the plea with the "sole purpose to secure gender justice, gender equability and dignity of women".

The fifth petition was filed by Nighat Abbass, who claims to be a social activist, media panellist and political analyst.

The five petitions have sought directions to the Centre to constitute a judicial commission or a high-level expert committee to draft the UCC within three months, while considering the best practices of all religions and sects, civil laws of developed countries and international conventions.

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