‘Can’t Be Uniform If One Community Is Exempted’: Owaisi Claims ‘Hindu Code’ Bias In U’khand UCC

Reacting to the introduction of the Uniform Civil Code bill in Uttarakhand, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday asserted that the proposed law appears to be a "Hindu Code" applicable to all communities. Owaisi alleged that the bill grants exemptions to Hindus and tribals, raising questions about the uniformity of the legislation.

In a statement on "Hindu undivided families" from the bill, stating, "If you want a uniform law for succession and inheritance, why are Hindus kept out of it? Can a law be uniform if it doesn’t apply to the majority of your state?"

1. The #UttarakhandUCCBill is nothing but a Hindu Code applicable for all. Firstly, Hindu undivided family has not been touched. Why? If you want a uniform law for succession and inheritance, why are Hindus kept out of it? Can a law be uniform if it doesn’t apply to majority of…

— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) February 7, 2024

Addressing the discussions surrounding bigamy, halala, and live-in relationships in the UCC, Owaisi emphasized the exclusion of the "Hindu Undivided Family" from the discourse. He argued that the code cannot be considered uniform if it excludes tribals.

"There are other constitutional and legal issues. Why have tribals been excluded? Can it be uniform if one community is exempt?" Owaisi questioned.

Highlighting the impact on fundamental rights, Owaisi claimed that the code compels Muslims to adopt the culture of other religions, violating the rights enshrined in Articles 25 and 29 of the Constitution.

< p>"The Bill forces me to follow a different religion and culture. In our religion, inheritance and marriage are part of religious practice; it is a violation of Articles 25 & 29 to force us to follow a different system," he asserted.

Owaisi contended that the bill contradicts existing laws such as the Shariah Act, Hindu Marriage Act, SMA, ISA, and highlighted the voluntary existence of a Uniform Civil Code through SMA, ISA, JJA, DVA. , etc., without the need for mandatory enforcement.

Furthermore, Owaisi criticized Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami for prioritizing the bill amid the state’s financial challenges, stating, "Uttarakhand’s finances are in doldrums, so Dhami feels the need to table this". 

The Bharatiya Janata Party, in its 2022 Uttarakhand polls manifesto, had pledged the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, seeking to replace religious personal laws governing marriages, relationships, and inheritance.

The proposed legislation, which excludes the state’s small tribal community, mandates the registration of live-in relationships and addresses the legitimacy of children born from such relationships. It also addresses polygamy and ‘halala,’ without explicitly naming them, allowing marriages to be solemnized through separate rituals practiced by different communities.

Opposition to the Uniform Civil Code comes from various Muslim bodies, including the All India. Muslim Personal Law Board, which argues against the exemption of certain communities from the Act, and noted the need for uniformity. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind voiced concerns, stating that Muslims cannot compromise on Shariah and religious matters, opposing any law contrary to Islamic principles.