Kolkata: Misinformation has been doing the rounds about Uniform Civil Code functioning across the world, including in the United States of America, Iran and Pakistan. But the US has 50, Iran has 11 and Pakistan has 3 personal laws. In Pakistan, two personal laws are for Hindus. It has been claimed by Wali Faisal Rahmani, secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Amir-e-Shariat (chief), Imarat Sharia, Bihar-Jharkhand-Odisha, who was in Kolkata. In an exclusive interview with eNewsroom, Rahmani, who has studied the civil law of India as well as other countries, talked about the UCC, and how wrong information has been spread out about it.
eNewsroom: What is the truth behind UCC being functional across the world including the US, Iran and Pakistan?
Faisal Rahmani: The news about UCC being functional in USA, Iran and Pakistan, is wrong.
Misinformation has been spread about UCC being functional in every country. First, let me tell you about the most powerful country in the world—the US. It has 50 states and there are not one but ‘fifty’ personal laws, every state has its civil law.
In Iota, a girl can get married at the age of 14, but in California, a girl can get married in 18 years. Here, if a girl gets permission from her parents, she can get married in 16 years. In Texas, a girl can marry when she turns 16. Like this, there are several different personal issues in personal laws across the US. Significantly, most of the people living in the US are from one religion, predominantly Protestant Christians. Still, the country is united and it did not break.
The second example we can take is about Iran. Iran has been depicted before us as a country where bad people live, there are a lot of wrong practices that take place in the country. But in Iran also, when we researched then found that there are ‘eleven’ personal laws functioning there. Different personal laws are there for Christians, Jews, Hanafis, Malikis and Shias. And no one has any issue with anyone. All are practising their laws.
Similarly, it was propagated about Pakistan in Television studios that UCC is functioning there, which is completely wrong information.
In Pakistan, there are three personal laws. One for Muslims and two for Hindus, probably for Hindus who are living in the North and South.
It is not a fact that there is a UCC in every country of the world and India is the only country where there is no UCC.
I should mention here that there is a process going on in Dubai that there will be separate personal laws for Hindus. How Hindu marriages and divorces for permanent Hindus should be governed by different personal laws is being talked about. Saudi Arabia is also thinking about it.
But I have read about Dubai, about Saudi Arabia, I have only heard.
eNewsroom: Is non-implementation of UCC a threat to India’s integrity?
Faisal Rahmani: There is no threat to India’s integrity, but the reverse of it.
Article 44 says that there should be one Civil Code. But first, we should know the definition of civil code. Under it, are financial laws, property laws, company laws, and contract laws. Several such laws fall under it. Whichever law, is not criminal and administrative, comes under civil laws.
A very small part of civil law is personal laws, which define how marriages, divorce, and inheritance will take place. Article 44 says that there should be a single civil code in the entire India.
Now there is property law among civil laws. If it is the same in the entire country, how will the Nagaland people react, if people outside the state will go there and buy lands there? How Tribals will feel if their properties are brought out by others? How will these people react and how good will it be for the country? People should ask these questions.
Also, if single civil law gets implemented in the country then the caste system will also be abolished as anyone can marry anyone. When the caste system becomes irrelevant then the reservation given to scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other backward caste as well as to those who are getting reservation on economic grounds will no longer be valid.
If one fine morning, it gets announced that everything is getting uniformed, then will it keep the country’s integrity intact or will its integrity be affected? Anybody can answer it.
UCC will take away the special rights of Goans, and implement the same laws as other parts of the country. However, I believe that because Article 370 has been removed from Kashmir, special laws for Goa will also be removed.
The eleven states- Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka among others which have special status will be removed. When these things will happen, then will the country be integrated or divided?
eNewsroom: What special status Gujarat has?
Faisal Rahmani: There are several scheduled areas in Gujarat. Besides, there are areas there where only Hindus can buy lands, not Muslims. And there are some areas, where only Muslims can buy land. The condition of Muslims in Gujarat is that they have to live in Ghettos and they cannot buy either land or apartment beyond that particular area or road. So when UCC is implemented then this provision will also end.
eNewsroom: Will it impact only Muslims or every person living in the country?
Faisal Rahmani: Every religion and state will be affected, not just Muslims.
It will affect all the 52 tribal communities living in India. The laws protecting the lands of the tribals will end.. The special status to 11 states will end. Northeast states’ special status will end.
The loss for Muslims pertains only to personal laws. Other have to face the loss of money, jobs, assets, and property. The impact is not exclusive to Muslims; it will affect Hindus, Scheduled Castes, Nagas, Tribals, and others as well. Sikhs, on the other hand, have their own set of laws. For instance, they only take three rounds (fairey) during the marriage ceremony, and these practices are well-documented within their community.