In the face of strong opposition to Uniform Civil Code by Muslim outfits, Congress on Thursday said its implementation would be impossible while BJP asserted that the move is aimed at moving towards a progressive society.
Other opposition parties like JD(U) accused the BJP-led central government of trying to polarise the people ahead of Assembly polls in several states, with leader of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Asaduddin Owaisi saying that bringing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) will "kill" the diversity and plurality of India.
Earlier in the day, the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board and some other outfits opposed the Law Commission's questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code, including abolition of 'triple talaq' and announced their boycott of the move, accusing the government of waging a "war" against the community.
"If you enforce something in the name of Uniform Civil Code, then it will kill the diversity and plurality of the country. It's not right to look at it from a Muslim perspective because Indian diversity also comprises of Dalits and Tribals. There are different traditions in Hinduism as well," he said.
Owaisi said the government's "real agenda" was to focus on Muslims and polarise the society.
Reacting to the issue, former Law Minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily said it will be difficult to implement UCC in a country like India where various communities and groups are governed by personal laws.
"In a country of this nature, implementation of Uniform Civil Code is next to impossible," he said adding no one should take it as a communal agenda or a Hindu versus Muslim issue. He said 200-300 personal laws exist in India covering various communities.
BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said the Law Commission is taking opinion of all the stakeholders on the issue following which it will form a "considered opinion" and give it to the Supreme Court.
"Now it is for the Muslim Personal Law Board to consider whether they want to be part of the stakeholders or they want to be an individual identity... If Personal Law Board people are misinformed, I cannot do much about it," he said.
Singh also referred to some international declarations and countries like Turkey, Iran, and Indonesia saying they changed laws to ensure gender equality. He said it was a move towards building a progressive society.
JD(U) MP Ali Anwar asked the government why it was only focusing on Muslims and said it is not the time to start such a debate. "They want to polarise the society."
Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said "for how long the Muslims will stay away from the national mainstream. The Muslim Law Board should support the UCC as it will help the community, especially the women to come out of misery.
"Our party's stand is 'one code, one law' and it should be viewed as a national issue rather than religious one."
In his reaction, Owaisi said those pushing for UCC were not aware of India's pluralism and diversity.
"They are not understanding India's beauty where there is a different culture every 200-300 kms. If you make one culture to all, then it is not going to work. MIM will certainly respond to the questionnaire," he said.
He said, "We have given cultural rights to people of Mizoram and Nagaland. Are you going to end that?"
Making perhaps the first such move, the Law Commission had on October 7 sought feedback from public on whether the practice of triple talaq can be abolished and whether a uniform civil code should be optional.