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  • Kanishka Narayan Tiwari

UNIFORM CIVIL CODE: ONE NATION ONE LAW

Kanishka Narayan Tiwari,

BBD University, Lucknow

INTRODUCTION

In, 1948 when Constitution of  India was been framed, value of pluralism was been discussed one social reform became bone of consensual it divided the constituent assembly they debated for months but could not reach to any result and finally they compromise: this compromise was over Uniform Civil Code meaning one civil uniform code to all which could abolish or limit personal laws. Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was not adopted in a constitution because of India’s diversity and vast culture to unify such diverse country was a big and tough task to conduct at that time.

There was also immense opposition to Uniform Civil Code from two major groups

A.   Islamic Fundamentalists

B.   Orthodox Hindu

They wanted their personal law SHARIA[i] and SHASTRAS[ii] respectively to determine their way of life. Uniform Civil Code was started considered as biggest “Threat to religious belief ” in a whole nation and was facing great backlashes from majorly every religious community in India. Finally founding fathers of Indian Constitution retreated and made it optional in constitution Directive Principle in Article 44[iii] of Indian constitution.

However , in India there are many uniform laws already exists  like ;

  • Constitution of India

  • Contract Act

  • Indian penal Code (IPC)

  • Civil Procedure code, etc.

But as we discussed , that there is major problem regarding the uniformity of religious personal laws.

  •  Is Uniform Civil Code a Hindu – Muslim debate?

In, a very clear words it is not a debate of any type of religious community but only a matter of abolishing such laws from Indian society which are discriminatory and derogatory . Which are completely wrong and are without any logic and law as well. For example: abolition of  untouchability.

Important cases on Personal Laws:

There are three important cases in the legal history of India they are as follows :

  • State Bombay  Vs Narasu Appa[iv] (1952):

In, this case a person was punished under Section 494 of Indian Penal Code but the convict has other opinion  about it as he stated that this law is against his religious belief because he does not have son from his first wife an according to his believes as if his last rites was not performed by his son so he will be not able to achieve “MOKSH”, so according to his religion if son was not obtaining  from first wife then he can marry other woman. But all these ideas were canceled by Bombay Court and the Act of Bombay Prevention of Bigamous Hindu Marriages Act and at the end the person was punished for Bigamy. 

  • Mohd. Ahmed Khan Vs Shah Bano Begum 1985:[v]

This case is considered to be very controversial case, in this case Shah Bano Begum a Muslim woman from Indore, Madhya Pradesh was divorced by her husband after the marriage of 40 years and 5 children, she then filed a criminal suit in Supreme Court of India in which she claimed maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C which is Right to Maintenance.

Supreme Court’s five judges bench clearly stated that even Muslim women are entitled to protection under Section 125 of Cr.P.C as well as commenting on Article 44 of Indian Constitution Act stated that Uniform Civil Code will work on national integrity.

Such progressive judgement was overturned by than Congress Government by passing the Act Muslim Women (protection on Divorce Act), 1986 it states that Muslim women cannot claim protection under Section 125 of Cr.P.C.

  • Shayara Bano Vs Union of India (Triple Talaq Case) [vi]

In recent times this is considered to be most important cases , in which husband of Shayra Bano divorced her by Talaq e biddat (pronouncing TALAQ three times) against which she filed case in Supreme Court of India which majorly challenges three major practices of Muslim Law which are;

a)    Nikah Halala [vii]

b)    Polygamy [viii]

c)    Talaq e biddat

By stating that these Muslim Law practices are derogatory and discriminatory. In this against All India Personal Law Board stated that as Muslim Personal Law is not codified so it should get protection from Article 25 means that Muslim Personal Law cannot be challenge constitutionally. In this case Supreme Court of India with the ratio of 3:2 majority declare  Talaq e biddat ( Triple Talaq ) Unconstitutional. And also stated that matter of Polygamy and Nikah Halala should be cleared by Parliament and not court. 

  • Recent Developments on Uniform Civil Code in India:

  1. In 2023, PIL was filed in Supreme Court of India to pass Uniform Civil Code than Supreme Court (SC) states that to enact Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Court is wrong forum this matter can be only deal by Parliament of India.

  2. Even the current Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Damodar Das Modi states that “ INDIA NEEDS UNIFORM CIVIL CODE.”

  3. Also 22nd Law Commission also show it’s interest in the implementation of UCC and request for ideas and views from public and religious groups .

  • Alternate Solution to Uniform Civil Code is present or not?

There are many major alternate solution of Uniform Civil Code like by the modification of several injustice, discriminatory, derogatory personal law without codifying it which prevent both injustice and several conflicts as well religious belief. As our Parliament have enough power to remove any kind of social injustice on the basis of Personal Laws by changing or modifying pre existing  personal laws.

CONCLUSION

Uniform Civil Code is always a controversial topic in the contemporary India and specially during election campaign by leading political party Bhartiya Janta Party as this major political party always in the support of  Uniform Civil Code and also always mentioned in it’s election campaign.

In India, there is always been group divided in the views of implementation of  Uniform Civil Code, it is always hot topic in internal matters of India there can be major consequences after implementing the Uniform Civil Code in India both positive as well as negative.

REFERENCES

[i] Sharia : personal laws of Muslims community

[ii] Shastras : personal laws of Hindu community

[iii] Article 44 : Indian Constitution Act 1950

[iv] State Bombay Vs Narasu Appa  ( 1952) : AIR 1952 Bom 84

[v] Mohd Ahemd Vs Shah Bano Begum (1985): (1) SCALE 767; 1985 (3) SCR 844; 1985 (2) SCC 556; AIR 1985 SC 945

[vi] Shayra Bano Vs Union of India (2017): 9 SSC 1

[vii] Nikah Halala : a marriage to make something halal or permissible.

[viii] Polygamy : the practice of marrying multiple spouses.

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