Should Uniform Civil Code be Applicable in India? Recently Uttrakhand formed an expert panel on uniform civil code, which is one of the agendas of the BJP. After this announcement, a discussion is opened about a uniform civil code in India. High courts like Delhi HC and Allahabad HC also back uniform civil code and ask the center to take necessary steps. Our Constitution makers always wanted a uniform civil code in the place of persona laws because of the secular nature of India.
Background of Uniform Civil Code in India
Two types of laws are working in India which is
- Those laws, which are equally applicable to everyone, like the Indian penal code (IPC), evidence act, income tax act, etc., are called public laws.
- Those laws which are not equally applicable to everyone but especially, apply to particular communities which are guided by our religious, customs and traditions These are called personal laws like Shariat laws 1937, Hindu personal laws also apply to Sikh, Jain, Buddhist.
- Personal laws deal with marriage, divorce, maintenance, etc. Within a community.
- If someone does not want to be governed by personal laws, they have the option to go for a special act, like Hindu Marriage Act (SMA).
- SMA 1956 governs all the marriage-related issues of all Indian irrespective of their religion.
What is a uniform civil code (UCC)
It is a secular law for all the citizens of India which applies to everyone regardless of their religion, caste, ethnicity, etc.
Our constitution makers have mentioned a uniform civil code in article 44, which is in part IV of the Indian constitution.
Article 44 says that “the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
UCC in India: Goa was the 1st state of India to adopt a uniform civil code which is a continuation of the Portuguese civil procedure code 1939. Now Uttrakhand is about to become 2nd state that has a uniform civil code.
Uniform civil code in other countries
Entire developed countries like the USA, Canada, Russia Australia, UK have adopted uniform civil codes for the betterment of society, religion, and culture and removed discrimination against religion, caste, etc. The growth and mutual understanding among communities in these countries show that UCC will help to grow the brotherhood.
Why do we need a uniform civil code in India?
- India is a country of diversity, and its nature is a secular republic, so the UCC is necessary to make integrity among them.
- Personal laws decrease women’s rights, and the situation of women has worsened. UCC will make sure rights and treatment are equal to males.
- Many high courts and supreme court in the case of Shayara Bano 1985 say that UCC is the need of this modern era and said center to make a path to implement uniform civil code.
- Our Constitution makers also mentioned this provision in article 44, which is in part IV of the Constitution. It will make a path of “one nation one law”.
- Personal laws of different community has increased the burden on courts or the judicial system, but UCC would convert these laws into one and that will decrease the burden on courts.
- Many practices of communities are contrary to fundamental rights, and UCC will uphold rights.
- UCC will eliminate this overlapping of laws and simplify the laws.
- Personal laws in India increase vote bank politics by community leaders, and UCC will help to reduce these politics.
Concern about implementing Uniform Civil Code in India
- India is a country with diversity based on religion, caste, and ethnicity, so that is difficult to convince every community to replace their old tradition.
- Experts say that UCC will finish or destroy the rights to religious freedom of minorities, which is given in articles 25 to article 28.
- It is a sensitive and difficult task because the government will have to change many personal laws, and it can hurt religious sentiments.
- minorities fears that the culture of the majority is being imposed on them.
Uniform civil code is a sensitive issue government should talk to minorities who are concerned for their culture, and they should be taken into confidence later, UCC should implement in a phased manner and take an eye on every consequence of implementation.