Fri, Feb 24, 2017 | updated 04:11 PM IST

U.S.-based Indians appeal for implementation of Uniform Civil Code, Bill of Rights for Indian Citizens

Updated: Dec 01, 2016 13:23 IST

Washington D.C. [United States), Dec.1 (ANI): Highlighting several shortcomings in laws governing Indian citizens, whose attitudes and aspirations have and are shaped by the Constitution, a three member body has called of the people of India A three member body has come out with a blueprint for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and a Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen (UBRIC).

Tufail Ahmad, a British journalist, political commentator of Indian origin, who is the Director of the South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington, D.C., and two others, namely Satya Prakash and Siddharth Singh have issued a statement in this regard, in their personal capacity.

Maintaining that Article 44 of the Constitution of India clearly states that it shall be "The State's endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.", the three-member body said that ever since the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, no attempt has been made by the Indian government to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for fear that political parties could lose Muslim votes.

Emphasizing that contemporary India is a totally new society in which 55 percent of its 1.3 billion people are below 25 years of age that is willing to shed ideas about caste and religion inherited from parents and religious leaders and clamouring for a UCC to ensure that equal rights are available to all citizens, irrespective of religious and other identities, they further went on to say that it is time to let go of the past wherein civil society organisations and human rights activists have shied away from advocating a UCC for Indian citizens.

They cautioned that not having a UCC has resulted in the prevailing erroneous belief that the UCC is meant to curb personal laws, especially only of Muslims.

Stating that the UCC was desired by the framers of the Constitution to ensure that basic fundamental rights of citizens, irrespective of their religious and other identities, are protected within a larger human rights framework, the three signatories to the blueprint said that now there is a realisation greater than before that a UCC will protect the constitutional rights of Indian citizens.

They said that since at present no draft UCC exists that could enlighten the people of India regarding the specifics that will constitute such a code; they have come out with a UCC draft within a broader context of a Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen (UBRIC). This draft UCC, they said is the first-ever attempt to bring specific issues before the public for a wider discussion.

The blueprint has called for the inclusion of twelve clauses:

We the people, whose attitudes and aspirations are shaped by the Constitution, recognising that there are shortcomings in laws, adopt this Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian Citizen, as under:

Clause 1

The fundamental right to education shall be compulsorily available to the citizen till the age of 18. Education shall not mean religious education imparted through institutions of theological nature. A child's fundamental right to education shall override all other fundamental rights, except right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Clause 2

The fundamental right to religion and beliefs shall be available only to the individual, not to communities and organisations. In disputes involving an individual's rights, the state or courts shall generally not accept interventions from organisations and groups of religious nature.

Clause 3

Individuals, irrespective of gender, may marry under religious practices but after marriage, disputes involving divorce, joint property, child custody and alimony shall be decided under one law which shall override personal laws. No one can remarry before divorce obtained through a court. Parallel courts run by religious groups shall be deemed a criminal offence.

Clause 4

Parliament, state legislatures and courts shall not make laws or issue orders based on religious scriptures of any community, in keeping with the secular nature of the republic. The Constitution itself shall be the source for such orders and for further legislative improvements.

Clause 5

Citizens - irrespective of gender, religious persuasion or sexual orientation - shall a) inherit equal share in the ancestral/parental property, b) shall have equal right to adoption and will not bring up the adopted child as per their religious beliefs, and c) shall have equal right to succession. No tax benefits shall accrue to the individuals or groups for the reasons of religious and other identities.

Clause 6

The citizen shall have unhindered freedom of thought and speech, which cannot be curtailed by the state for any reason, except when there is imminent danger to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. The state shall not impose restrictions on books, magazines, movies, newspapers and the like with retrospective effect from January 26, 1950.

Clause 7

Rule of law shall apply equally to every citizen. Government officials using the laws selectively under political or other consideration against some individuals, and not against others, within their jurisdiction shall cease to hold their position from the time such an omission or commission occurs.

Clause 8

No citizen can be held in custody for more than 24 hours, and rarely to a maximum 90 days in serious cases such as terrorism and sedition, without being chargesheeted before a court of law.

Clause 9

The state, through the Election Commission, shall ensure organisational and financial transparency of political parties. Political parties can accept donations only through verifiable, recorded and cashless means of financial transaction. Elections of political parties shall be organised by the Election Commission. Violations shall make them liable to be de-recognized.

Clause 10

A citizen shall be permitted to buy, sell or transfer land throughout the territory of India. Any existing laws that contravene this provision shall be deemed null and void.

Clause 11

All children born throughout the territory of India including Gilgit Baltistan, which being the part of Jammu & Kashmir, shall have an automatic right to be the citizen of India.

Clause 12

Use of words that describe individuals or groups of people in a discriminatory and hateful manner (examples thereof being bhangi, chamar, kafir, munafiq and the like) shall be a criminal offence. Such words could be of religious, caste, regional, gender or other demeaning connotation. It shall be dealt with by one law.

They appealed to the Members of Parliament to enact this Bill as Law in fulfilment of the objectives set out in the Preamble of the Constitution and in particular Article 44. (ANI)

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.24 (ANI): Citing that how Congress party has been sidelined by the people in Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hits out at the former over their downfall in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections 2017 while addressing an election rally in Gonda on Monday.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): The Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) denial to certify the upcoming film, 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' has paved the way for widespread negativity among activists who are of the opinion CBFC needs to be educated immediately.

Full Story >>

Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Taking a dig at former Delhi chief minister and Congress senior leader Sheila Dikshit's remark that party vice president Rahul Gandhi still lacks maturity, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Friday said the entire nation agreed with this 'fact' which did not explain why he was being 'forced' into the state.

Full Story >>

Namami Brahmaputra festival to begin soon

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 14:49 IST

Guwahati (Assam) [India], Feb.24 (ANI): Namami Brahmaputra, a mega festival to begin soon on the the mighty river from Sadiya to Dhubri in 21 districts from March 31,which will promote economy, trade and commerce, culture, skill, industry and tourism, organizers said today.

Full Story >>

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Responding to the anti-militancy operations in Kashmir and disruptions by protesting youth at encounter sites, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday said the people's anger was justified as the Jammu and Kashmir Government had formed an alliance with the 'communal' forces.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb.24 (ANI): Hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "donkey" rebuttal to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the Congress on Friday called on the former to seek votes based on policies and principles, adding that such remarks coming from him were unbecoming.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Condemning the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for refusing to clear the award-winning film Lipstick Under My Burkha, member of the film board Ashoke Pandit on Friday said such an onslaught breaks the confidence of a filmmaker, adding that film industry is under threat from the attitude of Censor Board chairman Pahlaj Nihalani.

Full Story >>

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Amid scorching criticisms from the Opposition for spending, what many claim to be tax payers money, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao is all set to offer a gold moustache (bangaru meesalu) costing around Rs. 75,000 at Kuravi Veerabhadra Swamy Temple.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Following the deadly shooting in Kansas in which an Indian engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed by a gunman in an alleged racial attack, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured that India would undertake all arrangements to transport the mortal remains of the former to Hyderabad.

Full Story >>

Patna (Bihar) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Bihar Staff Selection Commission chairman and senior IAS officer Sudhir Kumar was arrested today in connection with the BSSC exam paper leak matter.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Following the deadly shooting in Kansas in which an Indian engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed by a gunman in an alleged racial attack, the Indian Consulate in Houston has stepped in to ensure the victims' mortal remains are brought back and adequate facilities are provided to another Indian, Alok Madasani, who was injured.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): In a tragic incident, one fireman was killed and four other suffered serious injuries after an LPG cylinder exploded in Vikaspuri.

Full Story >>

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Despite the current political turbulence in the state, there is no let-up in zeal and extravagance when it comes to celebrating the birthday of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.

Full Story >>

NewDelhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday expressed shock at the murder of an Indian engineer, who was shot dead in U.S. by a gunman in an alleged racial attack, and offered her condolences to the bereaved family, adding that India would provide all assistance and help to the victim's family.

Full Story >>

Kathua (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): The Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday apprehended a Pakistani national while he was crossing the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua Sector.

Full Story >>

Kerala: Moral policing victim ends his life

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 08:54 IST

Palakkad [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): A 23-year-old man, who was harassed by a group of youth for allegedly indulging in immoral behaviour with his female friend, committed suicide on Thursday here.

Full Story >>

PM Modi greets nation on Maha Shivratri

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 08:29 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday greeted the nation on the holy occasion of Maha Shivratri.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 24 (ANI): After meeting President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday, DMK working president M.K. Stalin will meet Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today in the national capital to discuss the current political turbulence in Tamil Nadu.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India] Feb. 24 (ANI): Lashing out at Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati for her remark likening BJP Chief Amit Shah to Mumbai attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said that the former is resorting to such statements in clear desperation, as she could foresee her impending loss in the state Assembly Elections.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India] Feb. 24 (ANI): After suffering a rout in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, the Congress party on Friday said it will introspect on the reasons for the loss and added that course correction will be undertaken by the grand old party.

Full Story >>