Personal belief cannot dictate operation of law: SC

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 20, 2014 00:10 hrs

New Delhi: Personal beliefs and faiths, though must be honoured, cannot dictate the operation of law, the Supreme Court today said while expressing concern over prevailing conflicting views among different communities coming in way of realising the concept of Uniform Civil Code.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam hailed the adoption law passed by the Centre, allowing people of all religion to adopt a child, as a small step towards Uniform Civil Code.

"To us, the Act is a small step in reaching the goal enshrined by Article 44 of the Constitution (Uniform Civil Code). Personal beliefs and faiths, though must be honoured, cannot dictate the operation of the provisions of an enabling statute," the bench said.

It held that the law entitles adoption by people belonging to any religion and any person, who does not submit himself to personal law, can adopt a child.

"Conflicting view points prevailing between different communities, as on date, on the subject makes the vision contemplated by Article 44 of the Constitution i.e. a Uniform Civil Code a goal yet to be fully reached and the court is reminded of the anxiety expressed by it earlier with regard to the necessity to maintain restraint," it said, while refusing to declare right of a person to adopt a child and right of a child to be adopted as a Fundamental Right.

"At the cost of repetition we would like to say that an optional legislation that does not contain an unavoidable imperative cannot be stultified by principles of personal law which, however, would always continue to govern any person who chooses to so submit himself until such time that the vision of a Uniform Civil Code is achieved.

"The same can only happen by the collective decision of the generation(s) to come to sink conflicting faiths and beliefs that are still active as on date," Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who wrote the judgement, said.

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