Law Commission of India chairman and former Supreme Court Judge Justice BS Chauhan has said that the report being prepared by the commission would cover all religions and won’t be restricted to Sharia alone.
The Law Commission is preparing a report on the uniform civil code which is to be submitted to the UCC.
Justice Chauhan said that the report will be comprehensive, and make recommendations for marriage laws covering all religions whether Hindu, Parsis or Muslims. He stated that the report will take time as the commission was reviewing details regarding all existing marriage laws and consulting all key stakeholders.
With respect to the possibility of legislation being introduced for banning the practice of triple talaq, Justice Chauhan said that the Supreme Court order on it was binding and the government can set down the consequences through a law for violations of the order and also remedies available for those aggrieved.
He clarified that the government has so far not consulted the Law Commission regarding a legislation on it.
Law Commission Exploring Other Areas Of Legal Reforms
Justice Chauhan stated that the Commission was examining legalization of gambling and betting and also whether the Board of Control for Cricket should be covered by the Right to Information Act.
Another area of focus is the reforms in family law. Both these were referred to the Commission by the Supreme Court and a report will be submitted on them shortly.
Ministers’ Statements Not Attack On Judiciary
Justice Chauhan opined that comments made by government ministers during National Law Day regarding lack of accountability of the judiciary was not an attack but in fact “a sign of a mature democracy”. He called it “a means of check and balance” and said it should not be seen as an accusation.
He however denied that Courts were stepping into policy related arena, noting that courts are “aware of their limitations and the principle of self-restraint. “
Justice Chauhan also stated that there was no real conflict between the judiciary and the government and therefore the justice delivery system was not being impacted.
Collegium system Needs Improvement But Is Necessary For Judiciary’s Independence
According to Justice Chauhan, it was important to bring in more transparency to the process of judicial appointments.
He pointed out that the Supreme Court judgement regarding the National Judicial Appointments Commission had made it clear that “the collegium system is not perfect and requires improvement”, adding that a memorandum covering the guidelines for appointment of judges as directed by the bench was yet to be finalised.
In his opinion, the NJAC with some modifications, as suggested by the SC judgment, would be an ideal solution which “would also have protected the judiciary’s independence”.
Unlimited Adjournments In Courts A Recent Development
Justice Chauhan pointed out that the practice of adjournments particularly in the Supreme Court was a “new development” and suggested that it “be resolved through negotiations between the Bar and the bench.”
He noted that in lower courts there are a large number cases getting listed before a judge daily, resulting the courts becoming “liberal in granting adjournments” despite amendments in the civil procedure code restricting number of adjournments.