Citizens' Issues
SC declines to hear PIL for uniform civil code, warns petitioner
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a public interest petition seeking direction to parliament for enacting a uniform civil code to end alleged discrimination being faced by Muslim women, telling the petitioner to approach parliament and not waste the court's time.
 
A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi said that it is for parliament to take a call on the issue and it was not in the realm of the apex court to issue a direction (to parliament) on this.
 
Chief Justice Thakur, in a disapproving note, told senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the petitioner, that if such petitions were filed without regard to the law, the court will come down very heavily.
 
Pointing out that the legal position on the issue was "very well settled", the court told the petitioner advocate he was "wasting the court's time".
 
"You are wasting our time", the bench said..
 
The petitioner was advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is also the spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Delhi unit.
 
The court asked why none of those who are being allegedly discriminated against have come forward for redressal. "Why it is that none of the people from the community have not come," asked Chief Justice Thakur.
 
If an aggrieved woman comes to the court, we may still consider examining it, the court said questioning the locus of the petitioner to raise the issue.
 
Asking Upadhyay to approach parliament for such a legislation, the bench said: "What you cannot do directly you are trying to do it indirectly?"
 
The petitioner had sought direction to the government take steps for the enactment of the Uniform Civil Code in fulfilment of its obligation under the Directive Principles of the State Policy in the constitution. Article 44, under the principles says "The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India." 
 
The petition had contended that a uniform civil code was a sign of modern progressive nation, which will show that India has moved away from religion, race, caste and sex discrimination.
 
Contending that at present "what we have right now in India is selective secularism, which means that in some areas, we are secular and in others", the petitioner said: "While our economic growth has been the highest in the world, our social growth has not happened at all. In fact it might be right to say that socially and culturally we have degraded to a point where we are neither modern nor traditional."
 
Upadhyay in his PIL said that the uniform civil code meant that all the citizens have to follow the same civil laws irrespective whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, or Sikhs.
 
It said that uniform civil code did not limit the freedom to follow their respective religions but it just mean that every person shall be treated equally, which Upadhyay described "as real secularism".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

1 year ago

The SC is right in refusing to intervene in an area which ought to be addressed by the political executive (GoI) and the parliament. But, it is also true that the Uniform Civil Code ought to have been prepared and adopted alongside the Constitution of India in 1950 or earlier. It is impossible to have political consensus on the UCC with secularism having different connotations for different political parties.

Two killed in Mumbai slum blaze
Two people, including a child, were burnt to death and 11 others, including three women, suffered injuries in a fire that led to several gas cylinders exploding in a northwest Mumbai slum on Monday, officials said.
 
An official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's disaster control cell said the fire erupted around 12.30 p.m. in the sprawling and densely populated Damunagar slum.
 
Within minutes, several gas cylinders in a nearby warehouse also caught fire and started exploding.
 
Witnesses said there were at least half a dozen deafening explosions and a thick smoke billowing from the flames was visible from several kilometres.
 
Additional Commissioner of Police (North) Fatehsingh Patil confirmed that a charred body was recovered while several other unidentified victims were rushed to BMC's Ambedkar Hospital.
 
A Disaster Control Cell official said around 2,000 hutments were reduced to ashes and the impact of the exploding cylinders led to a power failure in the entire locality that comprises posh skyscrapers of Thakur village.
 

 
Over 15 fire tenders, 10 water tankers and five ambulances were engaged in the relief operations and the fire was brought under control after nearly three hours.
 
The cause of the massive blaze, that engulfed an area spread over over 5,000 square metres, was being investigated.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Resolving India's urban governance challenges
The recent flooding in Chennai and our reaction to it points to a deeper malaise affecting us all. It is not only to do with urban governance but, at a deeper level, it is about us as people.
 
There is no doubt that the city government, as well as the state government machinery, failed to provide adequate support. After all the government that the people get is as good as the people who elected them. There may, of course, be minor variations to this, but broadly speaking, it holds true. 
 
The fundamental reason, in our view, was a failure to systematically break down the problem and resolve it. This arises because of deeply embedded attitudes as well as the fact that people, as well as governments, do not use a systematic approach to resolving most issues - including the urban challenges facing most cities in India today. A good approach of the present dispensation at the centre is to take help from people in the global community for building/evolving India's smart cities. It must be balanced with experience from the ground to develop cities that are resilient to challenges like natural disasters, urban transportation, liveability, global terrorism and the like. 
 
Recently, on a conference trip to Japan we realized that the country too suffers from and is prone to natural disasters. But their response and our response have been markedly different. They have resolved these issues by using a consensus-driven systematic approach. Japan has been ravaged by earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the past. But this has not prevented them in building the second highest tower after Burj Khalifa in the heart of Tokyo in spite of being prone to earthquakes. While some may say it is crazy others see a consensus-driven technological approach to resolving and overcoming the challenges that face them. 
 
Contrast this with our approach. Most institutions and people in India try to blame the system for all that is wrong and try to take credit for little that is right. A recent case in point - sticking the Tamil Nadu chief minister's photographs on the food relief packets. Most times in India, when all else fails, the Indian Army is called in to resolve the issue. It is because they follow a process-driven rule-based systematic approach to tackle problems. Why cannot all Indians be a little more systematic in our approach in facing challenges? This suggestion extends to professionals (both within and outside the government) as well as all citizens. Another example that can be cited for our disregard for rules is easily seen on the road when we drive cars. Most of us while driving cars change lanes frantically. When we can very easily stop this haphazard approach putting at great risk our lives and other people's lives.
 
Another thing we observed in Japan was that people stand on one side of the escalators to allow people who are in a hurry to move quickly to the top of the escalators. In India, while moving up or down in the escalators of the Delhi Metro, we have observed little order and mostly chaos. It is a very small thing but it reveals a lot about our beliefs as a people. 
 
We talked to a wise man from Japan and what he revealed about Indians was telling. He said "Indians are all very smart. The problem is they look in different directions." It can be seen in our approach to tackling urban disasters, driving, standing in escalators or throwing litter on the roadside. Rather than looking in different directions we must forge consensus and work together, be it the governments at various levels (city, state or national) or businesses or civil society and media or any citizen. 
 
All must work together to mitigate the adverse impact of any disaster that happen. Some people may point out that our comparison is flawed, as Japan is a developed country while India is a developing one. It is a fair point but even with the resources we have, we can do much better. Also, it is our belief that a comparison is necessary not to criticize our country but to learn from the approach of others that may have brought them success over the past 60 years.
 
A fundamental shift is required in how we build systems that are resilient to disasters and calamities. It will only happen when we change our attitude to resolve the problems that we currently face. Over the next 15-20 years, we must learn from the experience of other countries to manage urbanization effectively and build our country. It will require a shift in technology, governance and institutional functioning but, above all it will require a shift in our attitude to a more process and consensus driven approach.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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COMMENTS

Jyoti Dua

1 year ago

A good article by Amit Kappor. Our society needs lot of changes in attitude.

D S Ranga Rao

1 year ago

Wonderful! How true it is in respect of all other aspects of our life also everywhere in our country! When can we expect the end of paradox of Indians being undisciplined in India and well-behaved abroad?

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