The Uniform Civil Code ( UCC) is a proposal in India to formulate and implement personal laws of citizens. These laws are meant to be applied to all citizens equally regardless of their faith. This is mainly brought into notice, as in India, it isn’t uncommon for the personal laws of various communities to be governed by their respective religious scriptures. This promotes the diversion of Justice reforms and gives varied advantages to varied religious groups despite what might be deemed as ethical or acceptable. Implementation of a uniform civil code across the nation has attained mass approval despite some major criticism.
It is an important issue that revolves around guarding secularism in Indian politics and social spheres as it shall very well promote uniformity. These laws are differentiated from public law and wrap a plethora of social and cultural issues ranging from marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, and maintenance. It is also to be taken into notice that article 44 of the constitution expects the Indian state to apply directive principles and common law for all Indian citizens while formulating national policies.
Yet, it is to be taken into account that recently, a petition has been filed in Supreme Court against Uniform Civil Code (UCC) on divorce and alimony.
Know about the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in details:
- UCC, commonly known as the Uniform Civil Code, would provide for one law for the entire country. Irrespective of one’s gender, belief, religious preference, and so on. It applies to all sets of religious communities. And gives the institution to delve into their internal and sensitive matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, and so on.
- Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). DPSP, as interpreted in Article 37, is not justiciable (not enforceable by any court). But the doctrines laid down therein are fundamental in command.
- Article 44 of the Constitution enacts that the state shall endeavor to conserve a UCC for the citizens throughout the sovereignty of India.
Uniform Civil code can be a boon to society:
- Abiding by the proper set of law and order is what helps propel the country in a field of the just and honest sphere where people can believe inequality. With the various reforms and beliefs that hinder justice, there becomes a clog in the availability of justice.
- To prevent injustice and advocate justice at all costs, it is well known that a uniform civil code is most necessary to be followed in India. If a Uniform civil code is applied, then there would be a single law, and all people would be treated equally before the set law. This paper contains its bunch of merits, and that is the reason why it should be passed in the country without any further delay.
- The Uniform Civil Code shall comprise of the changes that occurred while applying the uniform civil code. There’s also a detailed study on what effect it shows while applied to the whole of the country and what difficulty India faced while dealing with it.
- As the society we live in is ever-changing, there needs to be a constant amendment to the laws as per the advancement aiming towards the betterment of the country. The idea of running with age-old laws makes no sense, and there’s a constant requirement that is to be made according to the need of the hour. Stagnation of laws should be avoided at all costs.
- The purpose of equality and equal justice has been in debate for a long time now. The need for Uniform Civil Code solidifies even more during these times. Without the uniform civil code in action, it is a known fact that a lot of people can benefit from the personalized set of laws. There’s also much power given to them that helps them misuse the set of laws. This set of personal laws have time and again proved to be a hindrance in the judiciary and proving the much-deserved justice to the victim.
- For instance, in a lot of religion-oriented personal laws, women had their rights snatched. They were not given their rights after divorce or at the time of death of their husband. But with the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, not only is it ensured that the weaker section of the society is granted their rights but also ensures that children and women both can guarantee themselves a bright future.
- This, in turn, shall help the country come out of certain social shackles and embrace positivity and growth. The Uniform Civil Code helps explore the idea of a tool of equal justice in India.
Merits of Uniform Civil Code
- Coinciding provision of law can be avoided.
- All equal before the law: All communities will get equal status, and there would be no bigotry.
- The nation would have the same set of laws together.
- The country would emerge with new impetus and power.
- Simplification of the Indian legal system.
- The burden on the tribunal would reduce.
- Rapid arbiter.
The origin of the UCC dates back to colonial rule in India. This was back in time when the British Raj was at its peak. The British government submitted its report in 1835 focusing on the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law. This was done about many significant crimes, evidence, and contracts. This also specified that specifically, the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept outside of such codification.
The need for uniformity was severe, and the British took into account a plethora of recommendations to pass a bill. This was then adopted in 1956 as the Hindu Succession Act to amend and had the absolute power to codify the law relating to intestate or unwilled succession among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.
However, this wasn’t the end of the crisis. There were also separate personal laws for Muslims, Christian, and Parsis.
To bring further uniformity and give the government an upper hand at governance, the courts have often firmly stated in their judgments that the government should move towards a UCC. There have been serious arguments placed against various religious laws like that of triple talaq and polygamy, which are known to impact adversely the right of a woman and their quest into the life of dignity.
The Centre has had a clear train of thought and has constantly raised the question of whether constitutional protection given to religious practices should be given the flexibility to extend beyond the ones that are not in compliance with fundamental rights.
Implications of Uniform Civil Code on Personal Laws:
- Assured protection to Vulnerable Section of Society: The UCC aims to safeguard susceptible sections of the society as envisaged by Ambedkar, including women and religious minorities. This was done all the while facilitating nationalistic fervor through consensus.
- Simplification of Laws:
The code shall help simplify the complex laws that barricade the realms of marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, adoptions, and other social issues that are a major issue spread across various sects. The same civil law will be put to effect and shall apply to all citizens irrespective of their faith.
- Clasping to Ideal of Secularism:
Secularism is an objective enshrined in the Preamble. India recognizes itself as a secular republic. As a secular republic, a country must adhere to common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on varied religious practices.
- Gender Justice:
If the UCC is enacted, all personal laws shall cease to exist. It will do away with gender biases that are pretty predominant in the existing laws.
- Secularism in its real form :
What we have right now in India can be widely termed as selective secularism. This simply breaks down to the fact that in some areas, we choose to be secular, and in others, we do not. A uniform civil code means that all citizens of India have to follow the same set of laws, whether they are Hindus or Muslims or Christians, or Sikhs.
This sounds fair and secular. It is also to be kept in mind that the uniform civil code doesn’t mean it will limit the freedom of people to follow their religion. It just means that every person will be treated the same concerning their crime or felony.
- More Rights to the Women:
A uniform civil code shall help uplift the condition of women in India. There’s no sugarcoating the facts that our society has been and still is extremely patriarchal and misogynistic. We further reevaluate these customers by allowing old religious rules to continue to govern the family life. This is a way that unknowingly, we let society condemn a majority of all Indian women, making them susceptible to subjugation and mistreatment.
A uniform civil code shall help in eradicating these age-old traditions that have no place in modern-day society. There shall be no issues with getting the facts right that women should be treated fairly and given equal rights.