top of page
  • Kirti Budania

One Nation, One Law: The Enduring Quest For a Uniform Civil Code In India 

Kirti Budania,

Army institute of law, Mohali

One Nation, One Law : The Enduring Quest For a Uniform Civil Code In India 

Diversity exits in India because of various cultural, social, religious background and communities that follow different rules, principles and custom. Due to different religion there are different personal laws set up for the people of the country. There is no homogeneity in respect of personal laws. This is one of the main cause arising in today’s world because of the variety the women gets deprived of their rights. The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) means uniform personal laws for all the people. To resolve all the problems UCC can be implemented in the country. Personal laws are different from public laws. Personal laws include divorce, marriage, maintenance, succession.

Uniform Civil Code and Personal Laws:   

Uniform Civil Code is a legal frame work which is not enforceable by the law. It is a set of uniform laws regarding various issues like marriage, divorce, inheritance which is apply to all the citizen of the country irrespective of their caste, race, color, sex and religion. Uniform Civil Code comes under Article 44[i] of the Indian Constitution which refers to directive principles of state policy (DPSP). DPSP states shall undertake to offer a unified set of laws to its citizens within the Indian boundaries. The UCC was proposed to be implemented with the idea to replace personal laws to each religious community based on custom and beliefs. Therefore, there are various personal laws for Hindus, Muslims and other religious communities. Now the main issue lies in the fact that there are various and deviation within the personal laws. There is no uniformity. There are also cases where the personal laws denied the rights of women or did not even given them their proper rights. To counter this imperfection the UCC can be put on.  India surely requires a UCC that is equitable and unprejudice. It should be a secular code that doesn’t approbate any specific religious group. The main purpose of the UCC is not to bring uniformity in religious faith but to codify family laws for all communities. 

Women are discriminated in every aspect of life. Before 1955 polygamy which is a custom of having more than one wife among Hindus. According to Hindu succession Act 1956, the rights of inheritance in ancestral property were not given to daughters. At present all Hindus have different Hindu Personal Laws based on the states of India .In case of Muslim society it is equally tyrannous and discriminating against women. From the starting itself the women are given secondary status .Like husbands is allowed to marry and have more than one wife but the same rule does not apply to the wife because she will be consider impure. There are many laws which infringes women’s right and one of them is “Triple Talaq”.Having UCC throughout India promote justice as it was seen in SHAH BANOS CASE[ii] of triple talaq as the law of triple talaq was oppressing the Muslim women and violating their fundamental right. 

The substantiveness of UCC in India will be that it will advance equivalency in today’s modern era, a secular country like India should establish. It will support public integration as it eliminate demarcation among different religious communities. It lead gender parity as it seen that the personal laws of almost all religions are biased towards men, women are generally discerned against during race or inheritance. So it has the potential to bring gender equality. It can moderate the loopholes in personal laws as these laws have some grave problems due to their favouritism towards the patriarchal concept of society.  

Constitutional Framework of Uniform civil code:

Some strong safeguards have been handed by our Constitution in Part III in order to protect individual rights given to all citizens of the country irrespective of their differences as to caste, creed, race, sex, place of birth and religion. This restricts the state from making any law in such a way which can produce any kind of demarcation on the base of any of the fornamed ground. The extension of respect by the state to all persuasions in an equal manner is arranged under the basic feature of Secularism in India.  The Uniform civil code debate emerged during India’s Independence discussions in 1948. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru first proposed the UCC but deserted it, believing society, especially the Muslim community, was not ready. Opinions were divided with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and other nationalists supporting the UCC on the other hand Muslim fundamentalists were in against. Article 44 of the Indian Constitution suggests that state shall endavour to provide UCC for its citizens throughout the territory of India. The main problem which arises is that UCC comes under article 44 of Directive Principles of the State policy which are not enforceable by the court and are just directions to the state, which are non- justiciable and merely guide the state.

   According to article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution people are entitled to freedom of religion and freedom to manage religious affairs. They come under fundamental rights. Opponents of the Uniform Civil Code argue that it violates Article  of Indian Constitution which is not correct. UCC will be a new law instead of mixed personal laws so that the chances of giving privilege to specific one does not increase and one of the main reason of UCC is to prevent biases. It would not ask a Muslim to perform Hindu rituals and vice versa rather it provide a common framework for all citizen, ensuring fairness and equality under a more clearly defined legal structure. 

Uniform Civil Code in Goa: 

In India, Goa is the first state to have a UCC regardless of gender, religion and caste. This code was framed in 19th and 20th century by the Portuguese colonist. The state has a common law family law. Every person regardless of any religion, caste have to follow the same rules and regulations related to succession, marriage and divorce .There is no doubt why Goa is on its way to become a highly developed and progressive state. In Goa equal distribution of property between husband and wife and children also irrespective of gender. The registration of marriage is compulsory in Goa. When Goa released from slavery, government removed all the laws made by the settler except Family laws as well the communities in Goa wanted it. 

Now, Uttarakhand also approved the UCC bill in the state.  The bill allegedly has suggestions to forbid child marriage and polygamy altogether. Equal property rights for sons and daughters, the abolition of the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children, equal property rights after death are the some major and significant elements of the bill. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Uniform Civil Code   

Advantages of UCC:

•      Implementation of UCC promotes secularism in the country. 

•      In moment’s time a country needs new laws which will promote concinnity and peace whereas particular laws still follow old age customs and traditions. 

•      All Indians must be treated inversely and a Uniform Civil Code enables this. Similar inequalities contradict the idea of equivalency in our country. Thus, through the establishment of invariant laws related to marriage, heritage, family matters, and land ownership, UCC can insure that every Indian is treated inversely.

•      UCC is a sign of modernization and advance accerative nation. It remove personal laws.

•      The status of women in the society is one of the major debit which is going on. UCC promotes same civil laws which will help demarcation  against women and elevate the position in the society. 

Disadvantages of UCC: 

•      It’s virtually delicate to set up a common and invariant set of rules for personal matters such as marriage. It is a particularly grueling task in India due to the vast artistic diversity prevalent across the country

•      People feel personal laws are derived from their respective religious belief so it should remain untouched and should not be obtruded. 

Challenges implementing UCC in India: 

•      Resistance from Religious and Minority Groups: The perpetration of  UCC in India faces resistance from religious and minority groups who perceive it as an violation on their religious freedom and cultural autonomy. They fear that UCC would put a majoritarian or homogenous law that would disregard their identity and diversity. They also argue that UCC would violate their constitutional rights under Article 25, which guarantees the freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Any attempt to introduce a UCC must address these apprehensions and ensure that the rights and identities of all communities are respected and protected.

•      Lack of Political support: Political parties frequently exploit religious and cultural sentiments for electoral gains. Therefore, some parties vacillate to endorse a UCC for fear of losing the backing of particular religious or cultural communities. There is a lack political will and consensus hampers progress toward implementing a UCC. The government, legislature, judiciary, and civil

society all play crucial roles in shaping policies and laws, including those related to a UCC.  

•      Enforcement and Implementation: Indeed, if a UCC is enacted, its effective enforcement and perpetration across the diverse regions of India pose logistical challenges. Ensuring compliance and prostrating resistance at the grassroots position would bear substantial administrative and judicial resources. 

•      Socioeconomics Implications: Personal laws frequently govern matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, which having socio economic consequences for individual and communities. These laws are often deeply intertwined with cultural, religious, and traditional practices, and any abrupt changes to them can have far-reaching consequence and can lead to unrest and grievances. 

Conclusion

In India, implementing of UCC is only way to secularize and integrate India in personal matters too. The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a topic of significant significance in India’s socio-political landscape. This composition has excavated into the complexities of the UCC, exploring its historical background, counteraccusations, controversies, and implicit future. The UCC, with its promise of a common set of laws governing all citizens, holds the implicit to promote gender justice and national unity. Still, it also raises concerns about religious freedom, cultural diversity, and the rights of minority communities.

The debate girding the UCC is multifaceted, involving political, religious, and cultural dimensions. The implementation of a UCC in India is fraught with legal and constitutional challenges and requires a careful balancing act between promoting equivalency and esteeming religious freedom. Therefore, it is obligatory to apply UCC, also clear that a UCC is not the violation of article 25 of the constitution. It should rather be introduced as a new law and not just the blend of personal UCC will transfigure centuries old customs and beliefs that have no place in today’s modern world, it will help the case of national integration by separating disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies. It is not a matter of justice but it also matter of how a country accommodates the diverse population abiding within it.  It is laws also there shall be a scope of arbitrariness. The citizen of country need to understand that the conception of religion and the conception of laws is distinct because the constitution of India allows the people to follow their religion that will also continue after the perpetration of UCC as it is not going to take down anyone’s right and its time now people need to start viewing law and religion as different. Its relinquishment will be a progressive legislation.

 "One Nation One Law" in India aims to streamline legal processes and ensure uniformity in legal norms across states, fostering national unity and consonance in the legal frame. Thus, it can be said that in UCC is an absolute demand on which no concession can be made in the pursuit of national unity and solidarity make it a more effective and strong conclusion detail. It's time to fete that while religion is a personal choice, the law must be uniform and secular to insure justice and harmony for all. In this pursuit, there can be no concession, as a UCC stands not only as a legal necessity but as a moral imperative for a truly unified and inclusive India.

References

[i] Article 44 Indian Constitution

[ii] Mohd. Ahmad khan v. Shah Bano Begum , AIR 1985 SC 945

63 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page