NEW DELHI: Law minister Kiren Rijiju in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday said that the government subscribes to the BJP’s demand for the promulgation of Uniform Civil Code.
Rijiju was answering the question asked by BJP’s Godda MP Nishikant Dubey who pointed out that several states, including Uttarakhand, are on their way to implement the uniform civil code.
“Nishikant ji has asked the question that what is the government viewpoint about uniform civil code … let me tell you uniform civil code is our party ideology and it should be considered as the ideology of the country,” Rijiju said.
Raising the matter, Dubey said that the Constitution makers had suggested that there should be a uniform civil code in the country, and the need to have one has only increased because of growing “social evils like same-sex marriages or live-in relationships”.
“Several evil practices have emerged,” he said terming UCC as a solution while, also, emphasising that Goa has already one in force. “There is uniform civil code in Goa. Uttarakhand is also likely to implement it,” Dubey said.
During the debate on the amendments proposed to the Family Court Bill, 2022, the minister told Dubey that government appreciated his sentiment about the non-representation of the high courts in Patna and Jharkhand in the Supreme Court and promised to convey it to the collegium.
“There is no rule mandating representation for each high court in the apex court. However, there has been convention to accommodate judges from bigger high courts”, the minister pointed out. Rijiju also said it has the mechanism to check the background of a nominee for judgeship, and it cannot blindly approve the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of a judge.
Rijiju said, “If we get a name and he is not capable of being a judge, we cannot sign (the recommendation) blindly. Due diligence has to be done. We have a mechanism to review the background of a nominee, his actions, his shenanigans, his achievements. The SC collegium does not have it. If we don’t approve a name, there is a valid reason for it. We don’t do it to block anyone.”
He was responding to a critical remark by AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel about vacancies in Bombay high court, despite the recommendations of the SC collegium. Rijiju said the government has cleared a few names in recent days, and there was no pending name for Maharashtra. The minister said judicial pendency has increased up to 5 crore and it was a matter of serious concern, but lamented the “casual commentary” on the issue.
About setting up of regional benches of SC, Rijiju said the apex court had discussed the issue and opined that the present system should not be disturbed. But, he said, the issue can be studied in future.
BSP’s Danish Ali raised the demand for a regional bench of HC to be set up in western UP. The amendment bill provides retrospective statutory cover to family courts in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The Centre had not issued the mandatory notification for the constitution of the family courts in two states, which threatened to void all the cases tried by them in the past.
BJP’s Nishikant Dubey slammed the SC’s rejection of National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, that was passed by Parliament.