The Rashtriya Adivasi Ekta Parishad, a group that claims to work to protect Adivasi interests, has moved the Supreme Court seeking protection of their customs and religious practices, including their right to practice polygamy and polyandry.
The group, which claimed to be representing interests of 11 crore tribals, has stated that any direction to impose the Uniform Civil Code would adversely affect their distinct customs, culture and heritage.
The NGO claimed the Adivasis (tribals) had their own personal laws and do not come in the category of Hindus as they worshiped nature instead of idols and performed burial of the dead. The marriage ceremonies of tribals are also different from the Hindu rituals, it submitted.
“In case of Uniform Civil Code, the Advasi’s right to perform marriage, worship, last rites and other ceremonies would be abrogated,” said the NGO, seeking to be heard along with others in a batch of cases that have questioned the validity of triple talaq and polygamy in Muslim community.
It highlighted that polygamy is practiced among the Naga tribes, the Gonds, the Baiga, the Lushai among others, while polyandry is prevalent in the Himalayan region stretching from Kashmir to Assam. In its classical form, it is found among the Tiyan, the Toda, the Rota, the Khasa and the Ladhaki Bota, it pointed out.
Likewise, the group said the dissolution of marriage and divorce are easily possible among the tribals on various grounds by a simple ceremony.
The tribals can marry more than one woman and the bar imposed under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 does not apply on them, it said. The Delhi-based group, which claimed to be working for the betterment of tribals for over 25 years, also submitted that as per Article 44 of the Constitution, Uniform Civil Code is to be secured by the state and not court.
The group also cited various constitutional provisions giving protection to the ST from various parts of the country.