Mangalore Diocese holds study session on ‘Uniform Civil Code’
MANGALORE, JULY 09: The Christian community leaders of the diocese of Mangalore met and discussed the pros and cons of implementing the Uniform Civil Code in India during a symposium held in the city on Sunday evening on July 09, 2023 at Shanthi Kiran Pastoral Centre, Bajjodi, Mangaluru.
The study session was jointly organised by the Family Commission and Lay Faithful Commission of the diocese of Mangalore.
Mr John Michael DCunha, the retired Judge of Karnataka High Court spoke on the topic and elaborated its nuances. He said, “The idea of a Uniform Civil Code comes from Article 44 (one of the Directive Principles of State Policy) of the Constitution. It is the duty of the state to implement the UCC throughout India keeping in mind the best interest of the country and its citizens.”
Mr Michael opined that UCC should not be randomly implemented and applied as it will cause prejudice to the integrity and unified diversity of the country amounting to breach of fundamental rights.
Rev. Chetan Lobo, veteran journalist and the editor of Sevak magazine responded. Moderated of the session advocate Mr M. P. Noronha proposed various perspectives of UCC and opened the house for discussion. Participants presented their views. Consolidating all the views of the members, the following five issues were considered and it was decided to refer the issues to the Law Commission.
1. The Christian Community is at a loss to answer the questionnaire published by the Law Commission and is handicapped to offer any suggestions as called for by the Commission without knowing the contents and the substance of the proposed legislation. Therefore, it is requested, that before initiating any discussion on the subject, copy of the draft Uniform Civil Code be made available to all stake holders and the general public.
2. Without prejudice to the above objection, it is submitted that the 21st Law Commission having already submitted a report suggesting reforms to the existing family laws, the Christian Community of the Mangalore Diocese is of the view that due effect be given to the recommendations by the present Law Commission, as no urgency or necessity has arisen to undertake the formulation of UCC.
3. The Christian Community of the Mangalore Diocese submits that having regard to the Constitutional importance of the proposed UCC and the consequences that would arise in the implementation of the proposed legislation, the Parliament requested to initiate a wider consultation by constituting a representative Committee consisting of all the stake holders including the members of the Christian Community.
4. Personal law is part of the religion professed by the Indian Christians. The Christian Community is of the firm opinion that the proposed UCC is an interference with the religious rights guaranteed under Article 25 and the minority rights conferred under article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India. The personal laws of the Christians are based on the religion, customs and usages which are protected under the Constitution.
5. The Christian Community places on record its strong objection in extending any other personal law of other communities to the Indian Christians, as it would destroy the social, religious and cultural identity and uniqueness of the Indian Christians.
Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, bishop of Mangalore, Msgr Very Rev. Maxim Noronha, vicar General, Very Rev. Dr Victor George D’Souza, Chancellor, former MLA J. R Lobo, Mr Naveen D’Souza, former MLC Ivan D’Souza, Mangalore City Corporation Opposition leader, Sr Cecilia Mendonca BS. President, CRI- Karnataka, Diocesan PRO Rev. Dr J. B Saldanha and Mr Roy Castelino, Catholic Sabha President Mr Alwyn D’Souza, priests, nuns, lawyers, doctors, social workers, community leaders and lay faithful were present.
Rev. Fr J B Crasta, Secretary, Lay Faithful Commission and Director St Antony Ashram Jeppu welcomed the gathering. Rev. Fr Anil Alfred Dsouza, Secretary, Family Commission proposed the vote of thanks. Dr John Edward DSilva, secretary, Diocesan Pastoral Council compared the programme. Press & Media Representatives Rev. Fr Anil Fernandes director, Canara Communication Centre and Mr Elias Fernandes were present.
Report and Photos: Canara Communication Centre, Mangalore