22nd Law Commission

22nd Law Commission which is mandated to identify laws which are no longer relevant and enactment of new  necessary laws to implement Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution and to attain the objectives put forth by the Preamble of the Constitution. 22nd Law Commission was constituted on 21, February 2020 for a three year term and Justice Rituraj Awasthi, retired Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court has been appointed as the chairperson. Later tenure of the Commission was extended till August 2024.

22nd Law Commission is working on two most controversial areas of Uniform Civil Code and simultaneous election both of which was forwarded by by 21st Law Commission when its tenure ended on 2018.

Uniform Civil Code

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government at the Centre has referred Uniform Civil Code to the 22nd Law Commission to examine various issues related to UCC and to make recommendations to resolve the issues. Modi Government has informed the Supreme Court of India that Government will uphold Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution and UCC will strengthen the national unity and integrity. Uniform Civil Code is one law to all citizens of the country governing the issues of inheritance, marriage, divorce and adoption etc. irrespective of religion, caste, language and gender. Ruling Bharatiya Janatha Party is a staunch supporter of Uniform Civil Code from its establishment and has always advocated enactment of UCC bill. BJP says that UCC do not violate religious freedom and only strengthen the national unity. 22nd Law Commission is conducting formula through discussions and negotiations among all stakeholders.

There are many criticism against UCC especially from Muslim communities who see it is an intervention in their personal laws. Once UCC bill gets passed, all Muslim persons law and Hindu marriage act and Hindu succession act will be dissolved. There is another criticism against UCC is that Fundamental Rights of the Constitution is above Directive Principles of State Policy and Uniform Civil Code will violate Fundamental Rights especially Article 14. Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy has not mentioned the sentence ” state shall endeavor by suitable legislation ” while Article 43 says like that. Article 44 says “state shall endeavor to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India “. The word “suitable legislation” is major point of area the opponents of UCC put forth.

Simultaneous election in India

Law Commission of India 22nd Law Commission has seriously taken the discussions about conducting Lok Sabha and all state assembly elections simultaneously. Narendra Modi Government has triggered the discussion after he came to power in 2014 while most of the opposition parties are against this move citing concerns that it is the strategy of BJP Government to make majority in two houses of Parliament and state assemblies. Earlier Law Commission in 1999 had suggested that simultaneous election to Lok Sabha and state assemblies can be helpful for the stability and governance. Regularly 3 or above assembly elections are held in the country every year which delays development activities in poll-bound states for a couple of months due to election restrictions and simultaneous election can save huge amount of exchequer’s money.

Major benefits of conducting simultaneous election are stability in elected bodies, cost reduction and time reduction. But there are many challenges to the simultaneous election. Enormous task to accomplish election in a country like India with more than 700 million electorate and more than 700000 polling stations spread across the country which is made up of varying geographical landscape. Monopoly of single party at the centre and states will be another challenge which may affect negatively.

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