After criticism, Army cancels seminar on UCC

Srinagar, After criticism, the Army on Saturday cancelled the seminar on the Uniform Civil Code.

The Army was scheduled to hold a legal awareness seminar on ‘Navigating legal frontiers: Understanding Indian Penal Code 2023 and the quest for Uniform Civil Code’ on March 26 at the Kashmir University Auditorium.

“The Legal Awareness Seminar scheduled on 26 Mar 24 by “Kashmir Jurist” in Kashmir University has been cancelled due to implementation of Model Code of Conduct,” Srinagar-based defence Spokesman Lt Col M K Sahu said.

Earlier, former Chief Minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah had questioned the Indian Army for getting involved in a ‘divisive’ issue like the Uniform Civil Code.

“Is it appropriate for the Indian Army to get involved in the divisive issue of the uniform civil code & that too in a sensitive area like Kashmir? There is a reason the Indian Army has remained apolitical & areligious. This ill-advised UCC seminar is a threat to both these basic tenets,” Omar said in a post on X . “Going ahead with this risks opening up the army to charges of getting involved in the murky world of politics coupled with interfering in religious matters.”

The National Conference had even sought the intervention of the Election Commission of India and asked them to assess the appropriateness of the army discussing an issue that figures prominently in the BJP’s manifesto.

“The Election Commission of India @ECISVEEP @SpokespersonECI should assess the appropriateness of the army discussing an issue that figures prominently in the BJP’s manifesto while the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in effect,” the Chief Spokesperson of the party Tanvir Sadiq.

The topics that were to be discussed included “challenges and benefits of the moving from a system of diverse personal laws to a uniform legal code, considering the concept of legal pluralism”, “ how a uniform civil code aligns with the principles of secularism and its potential impact of fostering a social harmony in a diverse society”, “the human rights perspective, examining how a uniform civil code may contribute to uploading individual rights and freedom”, and “ reforms needed in family law and inheritance laws, highlighting the potential benefits and concerns associated with UCC.”