Uniform civil code is a concept of single set of civil laws which is
applicable to all citizens of country irrespective their cultural and religious
The objective of Uniform Civil Code is to create uniformity in personal laws
related to marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, property, inheritance.
The introduction of Uniform Civil Code is aims to promote equality and social
justice by ensuring that all citizens are subject to the same set of civil laws,
rather than separate laws based on their religion.
The Constitutional aspect of Uniform Civil Code:
Article 44 :- Article 44 of the Indian constitution is the primary constitution
provision related to the Uniform Civil Code. It is the Directive Principle of
State Policy that states:
"The states shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code
throughout the territory of India."
The provision is encourage the government to work toward the adoption of Uniform
Civil Code but doesn't make it mandatory.
The Uniform Civil Code involves amending or replacing existing personal laws
related to marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, inheritance, maintenance,
and other personal matters, Personal Laws in India currently based on religious
Uniformity and Equality:
The constitutional aspect of Uniform Civil Code is rooted in principle of
equality and secularism. It aims to ensure that all citizens, regardless of
their religious beliefs are subject to the same set of civil laws.
Advantages of applying Uniform Civil Code:
There are some common benefits of Uniform Civil Code associate with the
implementation of a Uniform Civil Code.
- Gender Equality: The advantage of Uniform Civil Code is to promoting gender equality. In personal law based on religious particular often discrimination against women on the matters of divorce, maintenance. Implement of Uniform Civil Code is ensure equal right of women in all communities.
- Simplification and access to justice: The existence of multiple personal law creates complexity and confusion in the legal system. A Uniform Civil Code is simplifies the legal framework by replacing diverse personal laws with single set of rules applicable to all.
- Equality and secularism: A Uniform Civil Code promote the principle of equality and justice, by treating all citizens equally. It upholds the principles of secularism and non-discrimination enshrined in the constitution of a country.
- Women's Empowerment: Protecting women's rights and interests, countering aggressive practices, and promoting gender justice encourage education, employment, independence among women.
- Legal certainty and simplicity: Implement of Uniform Civil Code simplifies the legal system by replacing complex and often conflicting personal law with a Uniform set of laws. This simplification can improve access to justice and enhance the efficiency of the judicial system.
- Social cohesion and National Integration: By unifying diverse personal law based on religion and community customs, a Uniform Civil Code aims to foster social cohesion and national integration. It promotes a sense of unity and commonality among citizens.
Disadvantages of Uniform Civil Code :
Some notable cases and discussion relating to Uniform Civil Code in India:
- Infringement of Right to freedom of religion: The implementation of Uniform Civil Code may infringe upon the fundamental Right of citizens, i.e., Right to freedom of religion where they have the right to freedom to manage religious affairs (Articles 26).
- Political Controversy: Uniform Civil Code can become a politically charged issue, with different parties and groups using it for their own agendas, which can hinder productivity.
- Implementation Challenges: Transitioning to Uniform Civil Code may require extensive awareness campaigns and capacity building within the legal system, which can pose challenges.
- Resistance of Minority Communities: Some minority religious groups may view the Uniform Civil Code as an encroachment on their religious freedom and autonomy, leading to resistance and social unrest.
Uniform Civil Code adopted by the State:
- Shah Bano Case (1985): In this case, it involved a Muslim woman named Shah Bano Begum who sought maintenance from her husband after their divorce. The case raised a question about whether personal laws should govern issues like maintenance or if a common civil code should apply to all citizens.
- Triple Talaq case: Several cases related to the practice of "Triple Talaq" among Muslim men and its validity under Muslim personal laws were brought before the courts. These cases led to a discussion about the need for a Uniform Civil Code to ensure gender equality and protect the rights of Muslim Women.
- Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India (1995): The Supreme Court held that a Hindu husband cannot convert to Islam and marry another woman without dissolving his first marriage. It also stated that a Uniform Civil Code would prevent such fraudulent conversions and bigamy marriages.
- Shayara Bano v. Union of India (2017): The Supreme Court declared the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional and validated the dignity and equity of Muslim Women. It also recommended that the parliament should enact laws to regulate Muslim Marriage and Divorce.
Goa is the only state where a Uniform Civil Code is applicable, which is known as the Goa Civil Code. According to the Goa Civil Code, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians have the same laws relating to marriage, divorce, and succession. For example, Muslims who register their marriages in Goa are prohibited from engaging in polygamy and triple Talaq. However, this code is not strictly uniform.
Why It's In the News:
Uniform Civil Code has become the biggest talking point ever since PM Modi strongly advocated it during his address to BSP's workers in Bhopal on June 27, 2023. The Supreme Court has supported the introduction of the Uniform Civil Code, notably in the landmark Shah Bano case, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of a Muslim woman to seek alimony.
The PM's statement came a week after the 22nd Law Commission invited the views of the public and "recognized" religious organizations on the Uniform Civil Code within 30 days. The ruling party has made the Uniform Civil Code their focal promise during the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Why we need Uniform Civil Code in India:
- Consistency and Clarity: Uniform Civil Code provides a
consistency legal frames for commercial transactions, making it easier for
business and Individual to understand and comply with the new.
- Uniform Civil Code helps in clarity and regulating contractual
relationship reducing the potential for disputing and legal conflicts.
- Uniform Civil Code helps to protecting consumes protection in commercial
transaction promoting fairness and transparency.
The state's efforts to establish a Uniform Civil Code have progressed slowly due
to the challenge of reaching a consensus. Reaching a common ground requires
raising awareness among members of different communities through dialogue and
consideration. Furthermore, there is a great deal of room for the enactment of
additional laws of this type that apply to everyone, irrespective of personal
laws or religion. It is necessary to survey various communities to gather
feedback for potential reforms that could be included in the next legislation.