Ao Senden, NPCC says UCC will be in direct confrontation with Article 371 (A)

DIMAPUR, JUNE 28 (MExN): Ao Senden, on Wednesday urged the Law Commission of India to keep Nagaland outside the purview of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) if introduced while asserting that it will be in direct confrontation and will undermine the Naga customary law and practices which was recognized and protected under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India.

Ao Senden, in a representation addressed to the law commission said Nagaland is the only state in India which was established through a political agreement known as the 16-Point Agreement signed between the representatives of the government of India and the Naga Peoples' Convention. 

It said the agreement was given constitutional guarantee with the insertion of Article 371 (A), special provision with respect to the state of Nagaland by the Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act, 1962 w.e.f., 01-12-1963 whereby Naga religious, social practices and Naga customary law and procedure are recognized and protected by Article 371 A of the Constitution of India.

Ao Senden also sought to point out that the tribes inhibiting the state of Nagaland have own well established customary laws and practices with regard to marriage, divorce, separation, child custody, inheritance etc, which was continuously practiced and preserved since time immemorial. 

Majority of the Nagas are Christians and holy matrimonies are solemnized in accordance with the Christian beliefs and traditions. At the same time, customary oaths, customary rituals, customary advises are administered to the newly wedded couples and which provides customary recognition to the marriage.

Divorces, separations are minimum in Naga societies in view of customary sanctions/ censures. Upon deaths and divorces, inheritance, division of properties is effectively administered strictly in accordance with the Naga customary laws and practices till date, it explained. 

Reflecting on this, the Ao Senden has espoused firm belief that in the event the UCC is introduced in India, the state of Nagaland be kept outside the purview of the UCC. 

On similar vein, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) urged the Law Commission of India to “thoroughly clarify and check the intentions of the UCC, to take a firm stand if the intention is to hinder the diversity of our country.”

In a press release, NPCC president S Supongmeren Jamir said the foundation of trust that was built on the promise of protecting the unique traditional customary laws and cultural autonomy of Nagaland, is clearly being challenged by the Central government through the talks on introducing the UCC. 

It alleged that UCC is being introduced without any consideration and forceful acceptance even though the last law commission report had stated that the law needs to be deliberated further.

Stating that India is a country known for its numerous diverse culture and religion, admired and respected, the NPCC however rued that if the law passes, there would be have nothing to stand on. 

“The concept of unity in diversity, the notion of a secular state, a democratic country would be just mere words as the country would be forced to function at the whims of the majority."

In the Naga context, the NPCC said “our unique Naga customary laws is the very core of our identity and if any alterations or encroachment is made upon our religious, societal, cultural practices it will directly mean going against the very agreements that made us a part of this majestic country.”