Uniform Civil Code – A Goal to Achieve
Authored by Vasundra V
Keywords- UCC, Common law, Article 44, Civil Code, protect citizen, equality, ensure rights
Abstract This article examines the possibility of implementing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India. Through this article, the author has done a comprehensive analysis of the UCC, through secondary data and research. Research showed that UCC will act as a pillar in the discrimination against religion, caste, and women and it is possible to implement the Uniform Civil Code in India with the unity of State and citizen. Historical and practical implementations have been discussed in this article. Introduction Civil law is the term used for all non-criminal laws such as personal, consumer, and company laws and the civil code is the codification of such laws in a country. But what is uniform civil code? It is the uniformity in the civil laws which is applicable to all the citizens, irrespective of gender, sex, and other societal parameters. Uniform Civil Code basically proposes to replace the religious-based laws which depend on its own scriptures and customs i.e. personal laws in India with a new set of common laws to govern every citizen with equal status. The Civil Code mainly covers the personal status, rights related to acquisition and admiration of property, marriage divorce, and adoption of a child. Importance for Uniform Civil Code Though, it seems like we are upgrading to the lifestyle of the technological world, do you think our law and culture are also upgrading? Absolutely not. As human beings become more dependent on technology, it does not mean that they have accepted modernity in their culture. If we disagree with the above statement then why do we still have the caste system and discrimination of women? We call it a crime when we witness an incident based on caste or gender, but we forget to make a strong base in civil laws. More than re-framing the existing civil laws, it is a serious note to take a look into uniformity in those laws. The need for the Uniform Civil Code The need for the Uniform Civil Code in the developed and developing countries is important to move the governing structure of the country on the same wavelength. Having different laws based on caste, religion, and culture within the country, affects its development and plays a key role in crimes. These personal laws refrain the citizen from enjoying his or her fundamental rights such as Article 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution. Implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in this modern era will definitely provide the equal status to all citizens, promote gender parity, as the various personal laws have provisions that normalize discrimination of women. All the citizens shall be treated equally, which shall teach the upcoming generations about the principles of equality, humanity, and modernity. India and Uniform Civil Code In a country like India, all the criminal laws can be uniform throughout the country but since the country has a number of religions and culture (unity in diversity), the civil codes for family law are difficult to be implemented for all the citizens. The discrimination and violation of women’s rights initially started after the laws made by the British Raj in India. In the colonial period, Lord William Bentinck, the Governor-General of India abolished the systems of sati, suppressing female infanticide and human sacrifice and passed the acts in favor of females like the Bengal Sati Regulation Act 1829. After many debates and the report of the Lex Loci on the importance and clarification of the uniformity in civil code, the uniformity excluded the Personal laws of Hindus and Muslims. In between, many social activists fought to get an equal right for women in the remarriage and property shares. Subsequently, the Acts were also passed. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Republic India along with the law minister Dr.BR Ambedkar and with the voice of his members for the uniform Civil Code, passed the Bill. However, only the Acts such as Hindu Marriage Act, Succession Act, Minority and Guardianship Act, and Adoptions and Maintenance Act has been implemented in 1956.
For the Uniform Civil Code, as we cannot apply it for the whole country, the provision has been made in the Indian Constitution as Directive Principle of State Policy under Article 44 which states that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. But in the Supreme Court Judgment of the case the State of Bombay vs. Narasu Appa Mali, 19511, clearly shows that the framers of the India Constitution did not wish to challenge the personal laws of a community by fundamental rights. Consequently, the topic “secularism” became very controversial in the case of Mohammed Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano,19852 which shows even the Muslim law has an inconsistency. Religious based laws in India stands as a barrier to gender parity and discrimination. India’s 55% population is youth. Thus, the minds of youth have to be given serious consideration of the principles of equality and humanity by bringing the uniform laws to utilize their full potential towards nation-building.
Conclusion If you still think that, it is impossible to have Uniform Civil Code in India then you must know that despite the cultural diversity in Goa, the State follows its own uniform Civil Code, the Goa Civil Code. It is significant to understand that the Constitution was written seventy years ago and the demand for Uniform Civil Code keeps on gaining. Secularism in India is as significant as medicine is for illness. Foot Notes:- 1 . AIR 1952 Bom 84, (1951) 53 BOMLR 779, ILR 1951 Bom 775 2 . 1985 AIR 945, 1985 SCR (3) 844
1. Rosselli, J (1974), Lord William Bentinck: The Making of a Liberal Imperialist 1774- 1839. California, University of California Press.
2. Chavan, N, and Kidwai, QJ. (2006). Personal Law Reforms and Gender Empowerment – A Debate on Uniform Civil Code. India, Hope India Publications, retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QIMp5ctu_ngC&oi=fnd&pg=PA5&d q=Personal+Law+Reforms+and+Gender+Empowerment+%E2%80%93+A+Debate+ on+Uniform+Civil+Code&ots=EwxT5EU8Ld&sig=cMD_JwxzmFz3tZmZwvSw2lETO C4&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Personal%20Law%20Reforms%20and%20Gender% 20Empowerment%20%E2%80%93%20A%20Debate%20on%20Uniform%20Civil%20 Code&f=false
3. The Constitution of India 1950, Article 44.
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