The Uniform Civil Code Explained

What is the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) formulates an exclusive law for India, for the citizens of India, irrespective of any religious background or community in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.

Under Article 44 of the Constitution, the UCC specifies that the State shall strive to secure for people in the territories of India the Uniform Civil Code.

Background of Uniform Civil Code -

The UCC's roots date back to colonial India when its 1835 report was submitted by the British government stressing the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law on crimes, facts, and contracts, explicitly recommending that Hindus and Muslims' personal laws be kept outside of such codification.

Increased laws concerned with personal problems at the far end of British rule prompted the government in 1941 to form the B N Rau Committee to codify Hindu law.

A bill was then enacted in 1956 as the Hindu Succession Act, based on these recommendations, to amend and codify the law between Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs relating to intestate or unwilled succession. Although, different religions such as Muslim, Christian, and Parsi had different laws.

In order to bring about uniformity, the courts have always indicated in their judgments that the government should move towards a Uniform Civil Code.

UCC & Insinuation -

Security Of Marginalized Sections Of Society - The UCC seeks to protect vulnerable sections, including women and religious minorities, as envisaged by Ambedkar, while at the same time fostering nationalistic fervor through unity.

Simplification of Rules - The Code would simplify the complicated laws on marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, adoptions, making them one for all. The same civil law would then extend to all people irrespective of their religion.

Adhering To The Ideal Of Secularism - Secularism is the goal enshrined in the Preamble; a secular republic requires common law for all people rather than differentiated laws based on religious traditions.

Gender Justice - India has different sets of personal laws for each religion regulating marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, and maintenance.

If a single civil code is enforced, all personal laws will cease to exist. It would remove gender inequalities in Muslim law, Hindu law, and Christian law that have often been questioned by women on the grounds that they violate the right to equality.

Challenges for Uniform Civil Code (UCC) -

Exceptions to Central Family Laws - Provisional sections of all Central Family Law Acts introduced by Parliament after Independence announces created unwanted exceptions as -

  1. Acts shall extend to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir."

  2. In 1968 to all these Actions, specifying that nothing contained herein shall apply to the Renunciants in the Union Territory of Pondicherry."

  3. None of these Acts shall extend to Goa, Daman, and Diu.

  4. Relating to the North-Eastern States of Nagaland and Mizoram, derived from Articles 371A and 371G of the Constitution that no legislative laws shall override the customary law and the religious system for its administration.

Communal Politics - In the sense of communal politics, the argument for a uniform civil code has been framed. In the garb of social progress, a wide part of society views it as majoritarianism.

Constitutional Hurdle - Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which aims to protect the right of every faith to practice and spread, clashes with the principles of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.

Conclusion -

The basic rights of people to equality before the law and equal enforcement of the laws provided by the Constitution often entail reciprocal intervention with regard to certain regions. Similarly, the terms of Article 44 order the State to make efforts to maintain a uniform civil code for citizens in the territories of India.

The code would clarify the convoluted laws relating to marriage rituals, inheritance, descent, adoptions, making them one for all. Then, regardless of their religion, the same constitutional law would extend to all citizens.

Written by - Shubh Jani

Edited by - Daity Talukdar

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