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Uniform Civil Code In India: Dispelling Myths And Analyzing Judicial Approaches Towards Personal Laws And Constitutional Principles

This comprehensive paper explores the complex issues of India's dispute over the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), looking at its past development, the difficulties its interactions, and judicial interpretation of it. Through the present study, an attempt has been made to analyse the evolution of these systems. The personal laws were seen as unchangeable and beyond governmental authority.

However, some have questioned whether personal laws are protected by the religious freedom given by the Indian constitution. The purpose of this article is to examine the conflict between personal law and the Uniform Civil Code, and the implementation of personal laws in India. It explores the complexities of India's diverse legal systems, and also addresses the problems through constitutional, and judicial perspectives.

To remove misconceptions, whether intentional or unintentional, researcher want to identify myths and reality centring around the Uniform Civil Code.

An attempt has been made to analyse the state's constitutional fidelity to establishing citizens a Uniform Civil Code as well as the judicial craftsmanship of the High Courts and Supreme Court. And analyses the judicial approaches taken by the Indian courts, emphasizing the delicate balance between fundamental rights and directive principles.

India is a diverse country, where people follow different religions, and being a secular country does not promote a particular religion. Every religion has its customs and beliefs. Indian constitution broadly describes the importance of having a common law to have uniformity in law within the particular communities in the society.

The often-discussed clause in Part IV Article 44 of our constitution that reads, "The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India"[1] continues to remain in place, and our Parliament's viewpoint is essentially unaltered. A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) debate is at the centre of an uprising of contradictory legal concerns brought on due to the astonishing complexity of the hundreds of religious activities.

Our constitution's preamble assures us of our right to freedom of speech, and and religion.[2] The meaning of these phrases has been thought about, looked into, and developed by the courts over the course of our constitutional history. The judiciary has declared the legality of UCC above personal laws in several decisions yet its enactment faces several challenges in country like India.

Historical Evolution Of Personal Laws

Indian culture now is a singular fusion of three different legal systems: Hindu, Muslim, and British.[3] The judicial system of the nation has been significantly impacted by each of these systems. The sources and authority for the personal laws that apply to Hindus and Muslims are found in their respective ancient sacred texts. Understanding India's complicated legal system requires a comprehension of its historical backdrop.

Hindu law is mostly derived from sacred texts like the Manu smriti and other older scriptures. Similarly, Muslim personal laws derive from the Quran and Hadith.[4] These regulations, which governed numerous parts of people's life, both public and private, were firmly embedded in the framework of society and were seen as heavenly mandates.

Large aspects of Hindu and Islamic personal law have remained surprisingly constant across centuries of political and socioeconomic development. This continuity highlights the religious traditions' ongoing significance and their adaptability in influencing people's lives. Historically, these fundamental rules were seen as unchangeable beyond the reach of legislative action.

This impression was based on the idea that these rules had divine origins and couldn't be changed or amended by laws that were created by humans. In addition to regulating issues like marriage, divorce, and inheritance, Hindu and Muslim personal laws have been essential in maintaining the cultural and sacred values of these groups. They have functioned as the repository of custom and tradition.

During the Muslim reign in India, Islamic law, or Sharia, was predominantly applied to Muslim residents, embracing subjects such as criminal law and public administration when applicable. However, not every citizen was subject to the same regulation imposed by Islamic law. Islamic law generally applied solely to Muslims in terms of family, marriage, inheritance, and religious rituals. Hindus and other non-Muslims were given the right to rule themselves in accordance with their own religion and customary rules.[5] This strategy supported the coexistence of several personal laws and added to the region's cultural and legal variety.

During the Muslim administration in India, there was a remarkable level of tolerance and adaptation in terms of personal laws and religious traditions. Hindus in particular were given the freedom to follow their own religious rules and practices in relation to family, marriage, and inheritance. Non-Muslim populations also enjoyed this freedom. This policy was founded on the understanding that a single set of rules could not adequately control India's diverse array of religions and civilizations. Because Muslim rulers did not interfere with Hindus' ability to uphold their own rules, special customs were able to flourish among different cultures.[6]

Under British colonial rule in India, there was an initial policy of non-interference in the personal laws of Hindu and Muslim communities due to the complexity and diversity of Indian society. However, as British influence grew, legislative acts were introduced to address specific concerns and enact social reforms. During the early stages of British colonial rule in India, the government primarily focused on trade, commerce, and maintaining law and order.

They chose not to interfere in personal laws, which were deeply rooted in religious and cultural practices. As a result, Hindus and Muslims were allowed to continue adhering to their customary laws in matters like family, marriage, and inheritance. However, as British influence expanded, they introduced legislative enactments to address specific concerns and promote social reform.

Notable examples include the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 [7], which permitted Hindu widows to remarry, and the Indian Majority Act of 1875 [8], which established the age of majority. Some legislative measures brought reforms to traditional Hindu law, often with support from progressive sections of the Hindu community, but they faced opposition from conservative groups who considered them infringements on religious practices.

The British approach to personal laws changed as they sought to do away with ancient customs, improve the position of women, attain legal consistency, and win the support of Indian religious leaders and the populace at large. This change resulted in legislative interference with personal laws, departing from the original non-interference principle.[9]

The Uniform Civil Code Debate In India: Legal, Social, And Religious Implications Of Article 44

The Uniform Civil Code's major goal is to create a unified civil law that applies to everyone in the nation, regardless of their faith. There are several contradicting justifications for putting the Uniform Civil Code into effect. The notion of adopting a single code for all personal laws was deemed incompatible with Article 25.[10] Concerns about the base norm and which communities might abandon their customary rules were raised.

It was argued that enforcing personal rules would lead to civil disobedience and turmoil across the country. Some claim that it will improve societal peace and simplify the legal system. Others argue that it would trample on the basic right to freedom of religion, which includes the liberty to practice one's faith as one wishes.[11]

Article 44 of the Indian Constitution is often a subject of debate and interpretation. it is essential to understand the exact meaning of the article to understand its scope. Article 44 is a directive principle that encourages the Indian state to work towards implementing a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). It highlights how crucial it is to have a single set of rules regulating personal concerns for all individuals, regardless of their belonging with a particular religion. This is meant to encourage equality and uniformity in personal rules and regulations.

A UCC has no immediate need to be implemented in accordance with Article 44. Instead, it demonstrates the state's resolve to make an attempt (endeavour) to do this. It understands that India has a variety of religious and cultural customs and that reaching uniformity could require acceptance and take time.

The demands of Part III of the Indian Constitution, which protects Fundamental Rights, and Article 44 of the constitution, which relates to the UCC, must be in accordance. The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) that will be implemented in India must be consistent with the fundamental tenets of the Indian Constitution. [12]

Article 14 emphasises the need for the UCC to treat every person equally, irrespective of their religious or cultural affiliations, by guaranteeing equality before the law and equal protection of the laws to all people.[13] In addition, the UCC should protect the rights to freedom of speech and expression[14] and the right to life and personal liberty[15] , which are also guaranteed by the Constitution.

Additionally, the UCC must uphold the freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25[16], which gives people the right to freely profess, practice, and spread their religious beliefs so long as they are consistent with moral, ethical, and societal norms. The freedom of religious groups to manage their own affairs while adhering to more general legal and ethical norms should also be acknowledged, as stated in Article 26 [17].

The UCC should also emphasize the need to respect various cultural practices and traditions as long as they do not conflict with basic moral and ethical values while also recognizing India's unique cultural variety. In fact, neither at the central nor union levels are the immediate legislative passage of an all-India Uniform Civil Code (UCC) contemplated by the Indian Constitution.

Demanding that a UCC be passed by Parliament immediately is against the regulations and spirit of Article 44.[18] The Constitution's drafters were aware of the variety of personal laws in India, which are affected by custom, culture, and religion. They made the decision to let the UCC's details be worked out through incremental changes and consensus-building procedures. This strategy seeks more legal consistency while respecting the nation's diversity in terms of culture and religion.

The Supreme Court of India, in its landmark judgment in the Minerva Mills case[19], eloquently elucidated the principles guiding the interpretation of the Constitution and the delicate balance to be maintained between Part III (Fundamental Rights) and Part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy).

The Karachi Congress session in 1931, where resolutions were adopted not only on fundamental rights but also on the necessity of economic and social change, served as an example of the historical justification for the steadfast commitment to fundamental rights, according to the Court.[20] This recognition highlights the necessity of preserving individual liberty while still pursuing socioeconomic advancement, capturing the spirit of the delicate constitutional balance that India must preserve.

Nonetheless, several cases involving public interest (PILs) have been filed throughout India's history, demanding the enactment of establishing a Uniform Civil Code. The question of implementation of the UCC increased through the landmark judgment of Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum and Ors [21], where the Supreme Court also said that there should be a single civil code for all countries.

Uniform Civil Code And The Constitution Of India: Constituent Assembly On Uniform Civil Code

The Constituent Assembly was interested in personal legislation, and there were spirited discussions in support of and against the Uniform Civil Code. Under Article 35, the Uniform Civil Code was discussed. The reforms in the personal laws were advocated by the B.R. Ambedkar, who was the chairman of the Drafting Committee. While the majority of the Hindu members supported it, the Muslim members fiercely opposed it.

It was believed that a to provide equal rights and protection to the citizens of country, it was essential to have a uniform code, irrespective of individuals faith and religion. He argued that personal laws, which differ from religion to religion, have certain provisions which are discriminated against minorities and women in the society. The Constituent Assembly, however, discussed whether personal laws constituted a component of the populace's way of life.

Religion and culture were integral parts of personal laws and any interference with personal laws would mean interfering with those people's fundamental way of life, as they have been doing from generation to generation and it was against the belief of the citizens.[22] It was contended that People from various castes and ethnicities would not clash if they followed their own personal rules.[23]

Furthermore, it was noted that the very concept of a uniform civil code would conflict with the freedom of religion and culture that each and every person is entitled to under part III of the Indian constitution. The British administration, during its 175-year rule, did not interfere with the institution of marriage, dower, divorce, maintenance, guardianship, paternity and acknowledgment, administration of the estate, wills, gifts, waqf, and inheritance[24]. However, certain provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, of 1908 had already interfered with Muslim Personal Law.

During the British administration of justice, Muslim community members spearheaded most of the legislation passed in the domain of Muslim Personal Law. Personal laws discriminated against people based on their sex, which was against the Constitution. It was argued that Article 44 of the Constitution creates a power rather than a duty for the state under the UCC.

Constitutional Dimensions Of Personal Laws: Examining The Path To A Uniform Civil Code In India

The Indian Constitution does, in fact, authorize the legislature to legislate about family relations governed by personal laws through the establishment of a Common Civil Code. Hindu personal laws were codified in the 1950s with the enactment of the Hindu Code.[25]

This was viewed as a step in the direction of developing a more consistent and progressive legal system as it eliminated several of customary procedures and ushered in legal changes for Hindus in relation to adoption, succession, marriage, and divorce. but on the other end, Muslims in India expressed intense objections to the plan to replace Muslim personal laws with a Common Civil Code.

The discussions around the inclusion of Article 44, which relates to the Uniform Civil Code, were crucially influenced by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the chairman of the Indian Constitution's drafting committee. He was cautious in his approach even though he supported the adoption of Article 44. He gave the Constituent Assembly members the reassurance that they shouldn't make too much of this clause.

This suggested that a UCC wouldn't be implemented immediately or imposed on all people. Dr. Ambedkar further provided Muslim members the assurance that even if a Uniform Civil Code were to be put into place, only those who agreed to be governed by it would be subject to it. This clause emphasized the voluntary nature of a UCC while respecting India's many personal laws and religious customs[26].

Challenges Surrounding The Uniform Civil Code In India

The UCC raises certain concerns for its implementation. The challenges will be faced by diverse country such as India is regarding Legitimacy, balancing the right of the majority and minority rights and their protection against discrimination, and Gender Equality challenges. [27] These challenges signify the complexity involved in the enactment of the "ONE NATION- ONE LAW" concept across the diverse and culturally rich landscape of the country.

The concern for the legitimacy of the Uniform Civil Code arises due to its rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and religions. It has been argued that imposing a single law on the personal matters of individuals might disregard the deeply entrenched pluralism in Indian society.[28] There might be possibilities that such a code does not adequately respect the culture and traditions practiced in the society. To ensure the acceptance of this code, it is essential that it should be considered legitimate by all sections of society.

The balance between the rights of the majority and their preferences and the protection of minority rights is also a dynamic issue pertaining to the implementation of the UCC.[29] India is home to various cultural minorities and tribes, so it's important to safeguard their unique practices and the traditions followed in the society.

Gender inequality remains a pervasive issue in India, particularly in matters governed by personal laws.[30] The need to eliminate gender-based inequalities frequently drives the need for a Uniform Civil Code. Pursuing gender inequality through the implementation of UCC is admirable however, it will be complex as it calls for changes in the societal norms and the attitude of the society about gender roles. Ensuring that a UCC effectively advances gender inequality is a multifaceted and continuously evolving effort.

Clarifying Misconceptions And Realities Surrounding The Uniform Civil Code: A Legal Examination

The Uniform Civil Code is often challenged for political reasons. Most people find such arguments difficult to grasp. Everyone may agree that one feature stands out clearly: the issue is serious and needs close attention. Without knowing the entire topic, there are direct claims and indirect remarks regarding the implementation of UCC.

One of the most widespread misconceptions about the Uniform Civil Code is that Hindus have relinquished their customs in pursuit of national uniformity, and that the four Hindu laws enacted in 1955�1956 have resolved all issues, including those concerning gender justice.[31]

The second widely held misconception regarding the Uniform Civil Code is that Muslims are the sole hurdle to the enforcement of the directive laid out in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, and that Islamic law is inherently biased against gender justice. As a result, Muslim women have the lowest legal status in India as compared to other women[32]. Another common misperception regarding the Uniform Civil Code and personal laws is the belief that all religious communities across all states have sacrificed their laws in the interest of achieving uniformity and national unity. [33]

However, the truth is rather different. It is not true that only Muslims oppose changes to their religion-based personal laws. If we look at the history of the Hindu Code Bill, we will see that there was a lot of opposition from Hindu religious scholars, constitutional academics, political figures, and upper-caste Hindus with regards to interference in their personal laws.

The initial Hindu Code Bill was allowed to lapse, but due to the harsh and degrading conditions faced by Hindu women under their traditional laws, the leadership of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru's administration pushed through the Bill in Parliament, despite the potential veto threat from the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. This move was driven by the need to address the challenges posed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and the strong resistance, especially from higher-caste Hindus, particularly Brahmins, who were opposed to certain provisions perceived as anti-women and against the principles of secularism.

It is a major fallacy that different sectors of Indian citizens are ruled by separate personal laws because they follow different religions, each of which has its own set of rules. In reality, no religion's adherents are ruled by uniform law across India, nor are any personal laws consistently applicable to all believers of the religion from which it is formed. The legislation varies from area to region and territory to territory, and it frequently applies differently in different circumstances.

The Uniform Civil Code is the victim of certain misinterpretations and realities, and, paradoxically, the meaning and significance of Article 44 of our Constitution are not being considered in its proper context. Both the legislature and the judiciary make detrimental attempts to evaluate the entire matter from a majoritarian' perspective. Such attempts undermine the entire aim of Article 44, a demand for consistency in personal legislation.

Judicial Interpretation Of The Uniform Civil Code

As part of Part IV of the Constitution, Article 44 prohibits the courts from ordering the government to create a uniform civil code. UCC has been deemed necessary by the courts, but it is entirely up to the government to determine when and how to frame it.

Over the course of our constitutional history, the courts have considered, examined, and enhanced the concept of UCC and its implementation. In various cases, the judiciary has proclaimed the constitutionality of UCC above personal laws. However, the argument over a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is at the heart of an outbreak of contradicting legal issues spurred on by the astounding complexity of hundreds of religious activities.

In Minerva Mills v. Union of India[34], One of the key aspects of the Constitution, according to the Supreme Court, is that fundamental rights must be consistent with the directive principles. Also, there have been Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed in the matter of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India[35], demanding the implementation of this directive principle establishing a Uniform Civil Code.

Initially, in the case of State of Bombay vs. Narasuappa Mali[36], in which the legislative provisions modifying old Hindu law were challenged as violating Articles 14, 15, and 25 of the Constitution. The Bombay High Court at the time ruled that the Bombay Prevention of Hindu Bigamous Marriages Act, 1946[37] was unconstitutional. and The Act imposed harsh penalties on a Hindu who entered into a bigamous marriage.

This Act's constitutionality was challenged because it infringed the freedom of religion granted by Article 25[38] and authorized only religious categorization, which Articles 14 and 15 prohibited. It was observed that Hindus were being punished for bigamy whereas Muslims were not being punished, and the sole reason for this is the legislative intent that Hindu law can be reformed and marriage in it can be limited to one at a time, which the Legislature did not feel for Islam.

Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum[39] is the next significant case pertaining to Muslim Personal Law and the Uniform Civil Code. The case was about the maintenance of a Muslim divorcee, but the court's observations on Muslim Personal Law and the Uniform Civil Code sparked a debate in the socio-legal and political arena. The Supreme Court has sharply reprimanded the Government of India for its reluctance to implement a Uniform Civil Code in light of the Muslim community's sensitivities.[40]

The Court emphasized the Legislature's apathy in implementing the Uniform Civil Code into operation concerning the enactment of Article 44 of the Constitution. It also noted that the government's actions had essentially nullified the directive in Article 44. Consequently, the Court instructed the government to take steps towards implementing a Uniform Civil Code, regardless of the Muslim community's stance on the matter.

Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India [41] is the fourth significant case dealing with Hindu and Muslim personal laws and the Uniform Civil Code. The Supreme Court of India issued another very contentious decision, this time raising the issue of enacting a Uniform Civil Code.

These were the concerns that were brought up in court: Whether Article 44 is founded on the notion that there is no required relationship between religion and personal laws in a 'civilized society,' creating concerns about Article 25, which protects religious freedom, yet Article 44 appears to separate religion from social relations and personal law as a result of the thought that religion is not necessary in a 'civilized society.' Marriage, succession, and other secular subjects cannot be brought within the safeguards established in Articles 25, 26, and 27, and whether Article 44 is a substantial step toward national sovereignty.

The court also emphasized the government's incapacity to issue a UCC. When more than 80% of the population is already subject to codified law (Hindu Law), it does not make sense to exclude other individuals from the scope of a unified civil code. It also emphasized the opportunity for a Hindu man to simply convert to Islam to marry two women at the same time and avoid any punishment for bigamy, which appears unjust in the face of it as Hindu law doesn't permit bigamy.

Further, In Shayara Bano v. Union of India[42], the Supreme Court stated that it is needed by the Indian Constitution that the state provides for a UCC to deal with difficulties emanating from personal laws. The Supreme Court saw a similar need for UCC in Jorden Diengdeh v. S.S. Chopra where the Supreme Court noted that there is a lack of uniformity in Indian marriage laws, especially those that deal with judicial separation and divorce.

The Court stressed the need for standard rules governing marriage, such as those that provide divorce with mutual consent and irrevocable dissolution o[43]f marriage, to be applied to all religions. The Supreme Court emphasized the significance of a Uniform Civil Code as a result, and ordered that its decision be sent to the Ministry of Law and Justice for implementation.

The Supreme Court reiterated the requirement in John Vallamattom v. Union of India[44] observing that religion and personal law cannot be claimed to have a link in a civilized society. According to the Supreme Court, religious freedom and religion in personal law are two completely separate entities.

The case of Ahmedabad Women Action Group [45] raised the issue regarding Muslim personal laws after the verdict of Sarla Mudgal's case. [46] The case called for the declaration to regard polygamy under Muslim personal law as void, and the provision of Muslim law that allows a Muslim male to unilaterally divorce his wife without her consent as well as any judicial process as this provision violates Articles 14, 15 of the Indian constitution and to declare void the provisions of Shia and Sunni inheritance laws that discriminate against females solely on the basis of gender. The court made an attempt to restore the constitutional position of UCC and held that a uniform law, when enacted efficiently, can be beneficial for the unity and integrity of the nation.

Thus, in cases where the constitutionality of specific provisions within personal laws was questioned due to potential violations of fundamental rights, the court generally exercised caution and deferred to the legislature's judgment. It acknowledged that these issues were primarily within the realm of state policies, typically beyond the court's jurisdiction.

However, it is also true that the court has frequently stepped into the shoes of an activist, highlighting the importance of enacting a "Uniform Civil Code." A uniform Civil Code will promote the goal of national unification by reducing uneven loyalty to laws with opposing ideas. It is the State's responsibility to ensure a consistent civil code for the citizens of the country, and it definitely has legislative power to do so.

If the Constitution is to have any significance, it must start somewhere.' This occurred most often when the issues at hand did not need such casual observations. The court made uncalled-for observations concerning the 'Uniform Civil Code' at times, even though they were irrelevant to the matters at hand.

Uniform Civil Code Implementation In Goa: A Unique Legal Landscape

Goa is India's only state with a consistent civil code regardless of religion, gender, or caste. Goa has a common system of family law. As a result, Goa is the only Indian state with a unified civil code. Individuals from Hindu, Muslim, and Christian communities are governed by uniform code concerning marriage, divorce, and succession.[47] This uniform legal framework in Goa was established through the Goa Daman and Diu Administration Act of 1962[48]. This legislation was enacted following Goa's integration into the Indian Union as a territory in 1961.

It granted Goa the authority to apply the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, with provisions that could be modified or revoked by the relevant legislative body. The court acknowledged the state's unique status as the sole Indian province with Uniform Personal Law, albeit with minor modifications, in the case of Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira & Anr.[49]

In Pursuit Of Uniformity: Arguments Supporting A Uniform Civil Code

Now we'll look at the reasons for enforcing the Uniform Civil Code. Authors of the Uniform Civil Code claim the following reasons. First of all, it is a clear example of Muslim appeasement. Among them, males are permitted to marry four women, doubling numbers and producing an exorbitant population growth rate. Furthermore, different personal laws lead to Muslim isolation.

The Uniform Civil Code will promote national integration and bring Muslims into the mainstream of society. A Uniform Civil Code will lead to communal cohesion, and as a result, all communities' lives will be coloured in the same hue and tang. Such a code will improve the position and dignity of women in India. This code will also encourage secularism. As a result, secular principles demand the state to apply uniform laws to all citizens, regardless of faith.

Although the claim that Muslim personal law is driving excessive population increase is the weakest, it is this concept that has become part of Hindu legend. According to numerous polls undertaken by government and non-government organizations, polygamy is less common among Muslims than non-Muslims. But it is their women of reproductive age who give birth to children, not their polygamous Muslim males. A greater dispersion of women under monogamy tends to raise the birth rates, but polygamy tends to lower it.

Then it is not accurate that Muslims do not utilize birth control because of their faith. If some Muslims are resistant to family planning, it is due to socioeconomic factors, particularly female illiteracy, rather than religious beliefs.

Without a doubt, the problem of reforming the personal laws of many communities and enacting a Uniform Civil Code is a difficult one. It is a highly contentious and sensitive subject. The analysis is equally challenging. The most unsettling, somewhat disappointing aspect of the aforementioned disagreement (Debate) is that it is largely political and empathetic, ill-informed, and rarely beneficial to either party understanding the other's point of view. Personal laws were a controversial political issue after independence.

The Constituent Assembly held heated deliberations, and despite Muslim members' efforts, a majority decided not to constitutionally guarantee varied personal laws indefinitely. The historical evolution of personal laws derived from Hindu, Muslim, and British systems has contributed to the multifaceted legal landscape of the country. While Article 44 of the Indian Constitution encourages the implementation of a UCC, the challenges surrounding its legitimacy, minority rights, and gender equality persist.

Article 44, on the other hand, was introduced, advocating for a 'Uniform Civil Code' in the Constitution. It should not be forgotten that the Uniform Civil Code is one of the guiding principles of state policy, among many others. It has merely persuasive power rather than compulsive authority, as its lack of application is not enforceable by a court of law."

The judicial interpretation of the UCC has evolved over the years, with courts emphasizing the need for consistency in personal laws while respecting religious and cultural diversity. The unique case of Goa, with its uniform civil code, serves as an example of how such a system can function in India.

The complex dynamics of Indian society are reflected in both the arguments for and against the UCC. While supporters claim it may advance gender equality, secularism, and national integration, critics note issues with minority rights and cultural preservation. The deeply established plurality of personal law, religion, language, culture, and tradition are the fundamental impediments to the application of the Uniform Civil Code in India.

The differences in family law between communities, tribal laws and customs, and people's view that the source of law and religion is the same and that faith, law, and religion are intermixed and interlaced have motivated individuals to resist the Uniform Civil Code. Article 44 of the Uniform Civil Code is merely one of the numerous other guiding principles of state policy, whereas Articles 25, 26, and 29 deal with religious and cultural freedom, and both clash with one another. In such a conflicted circumstance, basic rights must take precedence over constitutionality.

The Uniform Civil Code debate remains a nuanced and evolving discussion in India, requiring careful consideration of constitutional principles, societal diversity, and individual rights as the nation navigates the path towards uniformity in personal laws.

  1. INDIA CONST. art. 44.
  2. Om Marathe, The Preamble: What does it say, and what does it mean to India and its Constitution? THE INDIAN EXPRESS, January 24, 2020.
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  8. Indian Majority Act, 1875, No. 09, Acts of Parliament, 1875 (India).
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  13. INDIA CONST. art. 14.
  14. INDIA CONST. art. 19.
  15. INDIA CONST. art. 21.
  16. INDIA CONST. art. 25.
  17. INDIA CONST. art. 26.
  18. TAHIR MEHMOOD, UNIFORM CIVIL CODE: FICTIONS AND FACTS 129 (India and Islam Research Council, 1995)
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  37. Bombay Prevention of Hindu Bigamous Marriages Act, 1946, 21, Bombay act, 1946 (India).
  38. INDIA CONST. art. 25.
  39. Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum, 1985 A.I.R. 945 (India).
  40. TAHIR MEHMOOD, UNIFORM CIVIL CODE: FICTIONS AND FACTS 129 (India and Islam Research Council, 1995)
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  46. Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India, (1995) 3 S.C.C. 635 (India).
  47. Arvind Mishra, how uniform is Goa's civil code? INDIA TODAY, Jul 2, 2023.
  48. Goa Daman and Diu Administration Act of 1962, No. 12, Acts of Parliament, 1962 (India).
  49. Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira, 2019 S.C.C. Online S.C. 1190 (India).

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