In India all of the laws are applied the same. Suppose if I have done a murder
or you have done a murder, the punishment will be the same. This is called
uniformity. There are already a lot of uniform laws existing in India whose
biggest example is the Constitution of India. Besides this contract act, IPC,
CPC, there ar many laws. This uniformity's exception is Personal Law which
varies from religion to religion. Currently in India there are Hindu, Muslim,
Sikh, Christian, Parsi all of them have different personal laws, which causes a
lot of problems.
What Is the Uniform Civil Code?
The uniform civil code means a single set of laws that would apply to all
citizens equally, regardless of religion or community.
Currently, India has separate sets of civil laws for people of different faiths
in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, etc. For example,
Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains follow the Hindu civil code, while Muslims
follow Islamic laws or Sharia. Christians have their own civil code. The UCC is
not currently in force in India, but it is one of the Directive Principles of
State Policy, which are non-binding but aspirational goals for the government.
According to article 44 of Chapter IV, it states that "The State shall endeavor
to secure the citizens a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout the territory of
India." Though Article 37 says that the DPSPs shall not be enforceable by any
The History and Origins of the Uniform Civil Code
The origins of the UCC date back to the colonial period. The British government
attempted to codify personal laws to bring uniformity in the legal system.
However, they avoided interfering in religious laws due to political expediency.
After independence, the Constitution makers debated the idea of a UCC but
dropped it, hoping that it would be adopted in the future.
There was a lack of uniformity in civil matters as personal laws
based on customs, religion and traditions were acknowledged for different
communities. The idea of a UCC emerged as a result of this fragmentation and as
a means to promote a common civil identity.
Till 1961 When Goa was under Portuguese rule, a Uniform Civil
Code based on the Portuguese Napoleonic code was implemented.
Jawaharlal Nehru visualized a modern and progressive India and saw the UCC as an
essential element of nation-building. He believed that a UCC would help abolish
divisions based on religion and promote equality among citizens.
Hindu Code Bill:
The Hindu Code Bill sought to codify and modernize Hindu
personal laws relating to marriage, adoption, divorce, and inheritance. It was
seen as a step towards a UCC, as it focuses on bringing uniformity in personal
laws within the Hindu community.
Shah Bano Case:
The Supreme Court judgment, in this case, trigger debates on the
need for a UCC to ensure gender justice and equal rights for women across
There is an ongoing debate about implementing a uniform civil code in India.
Supporters argue that it will:
Promote national integrity by establishing a common set of laws for all
Discrimination against women will end in religious laws and protect their
rights. For example, under Muslim personal laws, a man can divorce his wife by
simply saying 'talaq' three times, but a woman does not have the same right.
Simplify and harmonize the maze of religious laws currently in place.
However, critics argue that a uniform civil code:
- It is against the fundamental right to practice one's religion as guaranteed by
- May be seen as a threat to minority communities who feel their cultural
identities are in danger.
- Is not feasible in a diverse country like India where religious beliefs and
practices greatly vary.
The debate around a uniform civil code involves many complex issues. There are
reasonable arguments on both sides, and a balanced solution needs to be found to
address this sensitive topic. Overall, any changes must uphold the principles of
justice, equality and secularism enshrined in the Constitution.
The Current Status of the Uniform Civil Code Debate
The debate around a uniform civil code has been ongoing in India for decades.
Currently, India has separate laws for different religions on matters like
marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. Many argue India needs a uniform
set of secular civil laws that apply to all citizens equally, regardless of
Many people oppose UCC such as:
People are in favor of UCC
- Regional parties
Bihar minister and senior JD(U) leader Vijaya kumar chaudhary alleged that by touching upon the UCC, PM Modi was aiming at communal polarization. RJD Leader Manoj Jha said that Hindu religion also has a lot of diversity and it cannot be painted with one brush.
- Northeast States
Politicians in the north-eastern States often express views that the UCC or alike uniform law will pose a threat to their highly diverse society. Article 371(A) and 371(G) of the constitution, tribes from the northeast States are guaranteed special provisions that restrict the parliament from enacting any law which supersedes their family laws.
- Against Muslim?
All Muslims in India are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1973. All India Muslim Personal Law Board opposed UCC, claiming that it would snatch away Muslims' rights and enriched the 'Muslim personal laws'.
The Law Commission of India has backed drafting a uniform civil code but says
wider public discussions are needed. The Supreme Court has also urged the
government to take steps in this direction. However, progress has been slow due
to lack of political will and consensus. The debate around a uniform civil code
is sure to shape India's legal and social landscape in the coming decades.
The major political parties in India have expressed varied views on the
implementation of a Uniform Civil Code.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
The BJP strongly supports the adoption of a Uniform Civil Code and considers it
an important step towards achieving true secularism. The BJP believes that
different personal laws based on religion are discriminatory and a common civil
code will promote national integration.
- The Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The CPI(M) supports the concept of a Uniform Civil Code and believes that it
should not be imposed from above and that the specific provisions of such a code
must be talked about and formulated through a democratic process. The CPI(M)has
advised that the various personal laws should be reformed first before moving
towards a common code.
The debate is complex with valid arguments on both sides. A balance needs to be
found between equality and religious freedom. Consensus building and
accommodation of diverse viewpoints are key to resolving this debate.
- The Road Ahead: The Future of the Uniform Civil Code Debate in India
The future of the Uniform Civil Code debate in India remains uncertain. While progress has been slow, there are signs the discussion is moving forward.
- Growing Support
More Indians are voicing support for a UCC. They believe it will strengthen national unity and gender equality. Several political parties also back a UCC, though they disagree on details. With wider approval, the government may eventually draft a code.
- Complex Challenges
However, implementing a UCC faces many challenges. It must balance equality and religious freedom. It requires reconciling diverse faiths' personal laws. It also needs approval from all states, which have authority over most civil issues.
- Optional or Compulsory
There is debate over whether a UCC should be mandatory or optional. A mandatory code may provoke a backlash over coerced assimilation. An optional code allows choice but risks perpetuating inequality. A compromise could make some provisions compulsory but allow communities to follow certain religious laws.
- The Judicial Perspective
Courts have urged parliament to enact a UCC and end discriminatory religious laws. Yet courts cannot draft a code themselves. They can only rule on the constitutionality of existing laws. Their decisions do highlight the legal complexities in reconciling religious freedom, equality, and minority rights.
- A Gradual Process
A UCC may emerge gradually rather than suddenly. India could first introduce
optional civil law reforms, like allowing interfaith marriages or giving women
equal inheritance rights. Communities would have time to adjust before further
changes. Successive governments can build on these incremental steps toward
establishing a broad UCC.
While a Uniform Civil Code for India faces a long and complex road ahead, many
remain hopeful. With open discussion, empathy, and a commitment to equal justice
for all citizens regardless of faith, India can craft a code that strengthens
both unity and diversity. The future of this debate depends on the voices of all
Why do people want UCC?
As we all are seeing rising demand from all parts of the country for a Uniform
Civil Code. The UCC has been in demand due to various observations done by the
Supreme Court in different cases such as Sarla Mudgal & others. v. UOI,
1995, Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum
, 1985, and Ms. Jordan Diengdeh
v. S.S. Chopra, 1985. People believe that UCC is the only option left out to
filter all discriminatory practices in personal laws. The truth is all laws
whether criminal or personal or financial are judicially reviewable and the
judiciary can declare all of them potentially void if they encroach upon
The implementation of the Uniform Civil Code will strengthen the enforcement of
laws on the citizens and prohibits favoritism towards any gender or religion.
The necessity for Uniform Civil Code can be traced to the independence era as
put forward by The Father of the Constitution-BR Ambedkar. The plethora of cases
like Triple Talaq, Adultery (section 497 of IPC), Shah Bano Begum and so on have
been pointing towards the need of Uniform Civil Code in India.
Execution of Uniform Civil Code will allow the courts to deal with the cases
related to religious discrimination or cases of similar nature more
appropriately and with ease, since the provisions for all the religions will be
in uniformity with one another. Uniform Civil Code will establish efficient law
and order in the country as One Law for All irrespective of gender, religion and
so on, it would put an end to the overlapping of provisions.
Recommendation of the Law commission
The Law Commission bearing in mind that Uniform Civil Code is "neither necessary
nor desirable at this stage." It is considered that it is discrimination and not
the difference that lies at the root of inequality. The Government of India 016
gave responsibility to the law commission to give its opinion on UCC and in its
185-page consultation paper maintained that to preserve the cultural and social
fabric of the nation we need to protect and preserve diversity and plurality.
They argue that the legislature should first consider guaranteeing equality
'within communities' between men and women, rather than 'equality between'
It indicates that in the absence of Harmony on UCC, the best way forward is to
protect and preserve the diversity of personal laws. Together with this, they
should balance all personal laws against the fundamental rights guaranteed in
New consultation on UCC was initiated considering its importance: Law Minister
Arjun Ram Meghwal
The Law Commission has started new consultations on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
due to the "relevance and importance" of the subject matter, Law Minister Arjun
Ram Meghwal informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
In a written response to a question, the Law Minister recorded that the 21st Law
Commission had issued a consultation paper on "Reform of Family Law" on August
31, 2018, but did not submit any record on the subject.
Is the UCC likely to be implemented in India?
It is unclear whether the UCC will ever be implemented in India. The government
has not made any concrete plans to implement the UCC, and there is strong
opposition from some religious groups. However, the UCC remains a topic of
debate in India, and it is possible that it could be implemented in the future.
The Uniform Civil Code is a complex and controversial issue in India. There are
strong arguments both for and against the UCC. Ultimately, it is up to the
Indian government to decide whether or not to implement the UCC. The main focus
of UCC is to put forward gender equality and put an end to all discriminatory
practices within all personal laws.
So, those people who make laws should make sure that women from all communities
are given equal rights in matters of inheritance, adoption of children, divorce
etc. Social awareness with substantial legislative amendments in laws along with
exercising the ghost of Narasu Appa Mali should be done. These measures will
stronger the impact and reach of Uniform Civil Code in India.
Written By: Hera Aiman
LLB Hons 3rd year