File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

A Ray Of Hope For Gender Equality In A Strangulated Society: The Uniform Civil Code

Without a Uniform Civil Code, labeling India a Secular nation is just an illusion[1]

The Uniform Civil Code, or UCC, has been the subject of heated controversy for many years. The term itself makes it clear that it aspires to harmonize civil laws in India, making them equal for every Indian, regardless of caste, color, gender, race, religion, place of birth, etc. It will also be non-discriminatory and grant everyone equal rights.

It seeks to achieve parity in the law for men and women as well as between the many religions. Current personal laws are perceived as deviating more from the norm or giving men more power while placing women beneath them. This is a question that, if answered positively, might lead to gender equality, which would grant men and women the same rights.

The author has made an effort to respond to this query by demonstrating how gender imbalance occurs in personal laws and how UCC can effect change or truly eliminate this inequality. However, our nation must evaluate itself when it comes to putting the word "secularism" into practice and attaining its goals.

When India's Constitution was being drafted in 1948, pluralistic values were a major source of dispute. The Constituent Assembly was divided over it; they discussed it for months without agreeing to make a compromise. Do you understand why the compromise failed? The Uniform Civil Code is a single, universal civil code. Personal laws would have been abolished as a result. How do personal laws work? The rules were based on religious writings and scriptures, which controlled practically every area of life.

Everything, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, and guardianship. Many of these laws were unfair and discriminatory towards women and minority groups. The Shariah law has rules that prevent women from inheriting property. Certain Hindu traditions prohibited women from getting married again. Therefore, the constituent assembly sought the abolition or restriction of such legislation.

They want to establish a constitution for India that would ensure that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or religion, are subject to the same rules. Gender equality is one of the objectives of the Indian Constitution, which advocates equal rights for men and women. Unless women are given the freedom to live in society with dignity, gender equality is considered to be a fundamental human right.

Many provisions are mentioned in Parts III and IV of the Indian Constitution to ensure gender equality. The Directives Principles of State Policy, which are essential to the governing of the country, are outlined in Part IV. While passing laws, the State has to carry out these instructions.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar observed, "I don't understand why religion should be given such vast, all-encompassing power to encompass every aspect of life and forbid the government from intruding there" during the Constituent Assembly discussion. Why, after all, do we enjoy this freedom? Our social structure is so full of injustices, discriminations, and other problems that violate our basic rights that we can enjoy this freedom.

Research Question
  1. Can India adopt a uniform civil code (UCC) without endangering its religious traditions and customs?
  2. What connections exist between the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and gender equality, and what modifications to personal legislation are necessary?
  3. What is the uniform civil code's judicial overview? Will establishing UCC through a legal framework have any effect on the government?

The adoption of the uniform civil code (UCC) will enable gender equality through the legal system. Being referred to as a secular nation, it is crucial to respect the religious practices and teachings of all major faiths, but it is not required to establish personal laws that are different based on religion. India needs to adapt to become a developed country, which it can do by enacting the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Research Methodology
Research is an investigation into the validity of a novel hypothesis or the addition of new knowledge to preexisting hypotheses. Research is the process of developing, gathering, and reinforcing principles as well as gathering and using empirical data to aid in the research process. Research methodology is a methodical inquiry to learn more new information regarding the phenomena or issue in question. In the broadest sense, the entire research process' mindset and practices are included in the methodology.

It offers the criteria that the researcher employs while combining data and study findings. The topic for this study was to assess the necessity for a uniform civil code to uphold gender justice and to determine whether the uniform civil code is appropriate given the shifting demands, goals, and aspirations of modern society.

In the course of the investigation, the researcher correctly applied the doctrine technique. All India Reporter, Supreme Court Cases, Journal of Indian Law Institute, and other journals, as well as research papers in this field, significant Acts, Government publications, and Constituent Assembly debates, are examples of secondary sources from which materials are gathered. Authentic books, pertinent magazines, articles, features, commission reports, and unpublished work are some of the extra sources.

Uniform Civil Code (UCC) A Step Forward For Gender Equality

The goal was to have one nation and one law, but it was not to be. The reason the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was not included in the constitution was that at the time, India was a vast and diverse country with a variety of religions, ethnicities, customs, and social structures. In addition, there was strong opposition to the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Both orthodox Hindus and Islamic fundamentalists wished for Shariah and Shastras to govern personal rules.

They were concerned that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) would unleash a Pandora's Box. They claimed it posed a threat to religious freedom because it would weaken their position of leadership. They ought to alert people to the nation's social discontent. The Indian Constitution's founding fathers backtracked and made the proposal optional in Article 44's Directive Principles of State Policy, known as DPSs.

Part IV, Article 44 of the Constitution states, "The State shall endeavor to secure the citizen a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout the territory of India[2]." It only said this. Only in name did the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) continue to be in effect. When India was prepared to accept it, they decided to put it into action. It is still a proposal and is still debatable after seven decades. When will India adopt a uniform civil code? One law applies to all citizens. One law, for one nation, would be used to govern India.

India being a diversified country touches the tip iceberg of numerous customs, beliefs, traditions, culture, etc., and finally grasps the stage of superstitious beliefs and social stigmas. The most mesmerizing fact to the point is societal norms are getting replaced by new norms of evil practices and customs.

The current scenario runs through three major phases comprising social taboo gender, stereotype, and stigmatized molestation. The forbidden matters are concerned under the head of social taboos, whereas stereotype and stigmatized molestation depict superstitious beliefs and sexual abuse and violence against oppressed categories and women.

The existence of gender inequality was an ancient practice the reality is they are still prevalent. Categorization cannot be made from the head, as it applies to both women and males and in this phase, equal rights to both must be practiced to fulfill their potential. The dominancy of social taboos is ten times more powerful than our statutory laws. Religion and taboo run like a master-servant relationship as religion employs the taboo in a specific direction to act.

Shifting from the phase of social taboos to stereotypes, they create an unequal socioeconomic disparity among men and women resulting from gender stereotypes. TMT known as Terror Management Theory is a mindset stimulation that urges the people in the society to understand morality leading to likelihood through the gender stereotype. Consciously acting in the prescribed manner can only serve as a remedy for stereotypes.

Historical And Constitutional Traces Of UCC

The Romans are where the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) originated, according to historians. They were controlled by civil law rather than a sacred book. The Mesopotamians did the same thing; they adhered to the Ur-Namo code, which is said to be the oldest law code in human history and which encouraged individuals to view themselves as a single family with a single set of norms. Another illustration is the US Constitution. All citizens are required to abide by the same laws under American law, which regards everybody equally.

However, this is not the situation in India. It is a large, diversified country with a deliberate disarray of social institutions, faiths, and ethnicities. At the time of independence, it was thought to be an impossible feat to bring such a nation under one legal system. Both orthodox Hindus and Islamic extremists fiercely opposed the idea of a single civil code.

They desired those personal laws to be determined by "Shariya" and "Shastra." They referred to the Uniform Civil Code or UCC as a threat to religious freedom because they thought it would unleash Pandora's Box and weaken their position. As a result, when it comes to property and inheritance rights, laws in India are dependent on geography as well as religion, caste, culture, and even geography.

For instance, traditional rules do not apply in the northeast Indian states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. No matter how archaic, people create their unique laws based on their practices and customs. Regarding religion, the Quran establishes some personal regulations for Muslims in India, most of which have to do with inheritance, marriage, divorce, and child custody.

Under sharia, a woman's right to alimony, her inheritance of property, and even her right to adopt a child are all decided, leaving her at the mercy of the Muslim Personal Law Board, a body largely controlled by men and influenced by clerics.

All of the Indian laws in force today in India incorporate elements of English law. The British were extremely helpful in establishing a unified set of laws to manage the nation's laws throughout their control. This is quite clear in the First Law Commission's 1840 report, known as the "Lex Loki" or "Law of the Place" Report. The major reason for establishing this first law commission was to investigate the practicality of establishing the uniform civil code (UCC) in the nation.

But in 1995, with the judgment of Smt.Sarla Mudgal, President, Kalyani and others v. Union of India and Others, the apex court addressed the government to take effective measures in implementing Article 44 of the Indian constitution and to present an affidavit outlining the steps and measures taken in implementation of Article 44. As a result, the hope for the implementation of the uniform civil code or UCC was once again raised.

The happiness, however, was short-lived because the Apex Court issued a reversed decision, holding that the removal of gender bias and discrimination is a state issue, not a matter for the court to address. Many activists who believed the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code or UCC had gotten off track strongly disagreed with this ruling[3].

However, the Commission's final report, which said that it is necessary for the codification of the Uniform Civil Code or UCC, has dashed hopes of its implementation. Think about it if different communities and different rules there would be friction and divisions and the British would use it to their advantage. Unfortunately for India, this continued even after the Independence and not for lack of trying.

All of them, from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to Jawaharlal Nehru, favored the introduction of a civil code in place of personal laws. The Honorable Supreme Court of India said a common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws that have conflicting ideologies.

The State Of Goa As A Model To Adopt

The only state in the nation that has adopted the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is Goa. The "Goa Family Law" is a body of civil law that applies to all Goans, regardless of caste, religion, or race. It has its origins in the Civil Code of 1876, which was enacted under the Portuguese era of control.

These laws have brought about gender justice and equality by stating that Muslim men in the state do not have the legal right to commit bigamy by uttering the word "talaq," and that after a divorce, property is divided equally between the parties. These laws also stipulate that income is shared equally between men, women, and children.

Shri Rajnath Singh, a minister in the current administration, stated, "Whenever we talked about the Ram Mandir, people made fun of us and said we had no other issues to discuss, but we kept our word. We also committed to Article 370 and the triple talaq, which we kept. We'll carry out our commitments under the Common Civil Code, too".

Uniform Civil Code Remained As A Dead Letter For The Critics

UCC regained momentum in the 1980s thanks to The Shah Bano Case. After 40 years of marriage, her husband suddenly deserted her and refused to support her financially. She was only entitled to three months of alimony under Muslim law.

She went to the Supreme Court only three months after 40 years of marriage for justice, and the judge found in her favor. Maintenance was given to Shah Bano. Muslim politicians and clerics objected, claiming that the verdict was against Islamic law. The Rajiv Gandhi administration issued the Muslim Women Protection Act, of 1986, which reversed the Supreme Court's decision.

It limited Muslim women's alimony rights to 90 days. Critics claim that this action is anti-secular and would target Muslims in India. Political and religious organizations, as well as tribal populations from the northeast, are opposed to it because they believe it is a plot to force the Hindu majority's view on the minority.

The UCC's supporters disagree, claiming that it will only promote uniformity and uplift disadvantaged religious communities and women. They point to the state of Goa, the only one in India with a Portuguese-instituted standard civil code that is still in use. Many Islamic nations, including Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan, have changed their laws to prevent abuse. According to their respective constitutions, they have all codified personal laws. Polygamy is outlawed in Tunisia and Turkey. Triple talaq is forbidden in Jordan and Egypt.

If Muslim nations may update their own laws and Western democracies can adhere to a single civil code, why are Indians still subject to rules enacted before independence?

This is a more legal than political concern. It's not that other religions lack orthodox practices. Every religion in India has discriminatory personal laws. For instance, despite the differences in their customs and cultures, Sikhs, Jains, and Parsis are subject to the same rules as Hindus regarding succession and inheritance. Christians too have imbalanced inheritance laws.

It is time to put an end to everything and unite India under a single body of law. While this makes perfect sense, it is still debatable due to political and religious forces that misinterpret it. After seven protracted decades of independence, it is now appropriate to reach an understanding, gather specialists from all ethnicities and religious backgrounds, take the best aspects of their customs and practices, adapt them to the modern world, and put them together under a single civil code.

Personal Laws Already In Place And Their Function In Ensuring Gender Equality

It is no secret that religious doctrines and traditions served as the foundation for India's laws. As a result, depending on one's faith, personal legal issues like marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, maintenance, etc., vary from person to person. We will talk about personal laws in India and how they contribute to gender equality.

Hindu laws
The Hindu faith, which is very old and has a lengthy history in India, is practiced by the majority of the country's citizens. The entire idea of Hindu mythology is predicated on a notion called "Dharma," which in translation means righteousness. The Hindu rules were not developed from a single script but rather from multiple scriptures and scripts that have been around for many generations. On the other hand, the 'Smriti' and 'Shruthi', which are based on the Vedas, Dharmashastra, and Puranas, which are regarded as the sources of Hindu laws, are described in ancient Hindu history.

Hindu Personal Law and Gender Equality
Hindu mythology accords greater importance to women, who are revered as goddesses and treated with honor and honesty. However, this is hardly a justification for claiming that Hindu women received the same treatment as males. Hindu personal laws contain the art of inequality. Women were granted the status of possessing equal rights in 2005.

Men used to have the upper hand in possession, while women were denied this privilege, demonstrating the inequity that permeated Hindu personal laws. As a result, Hindu personal laws in civil affairs of marriage, divorce, adaption, guardianship, and inheritance are largely beneficial to defend Hindus' rights by their teachings and practices but are somewhat out of date given the current situation. Men and women are treated equally under the laws governing rights in the modern world.

Muslim Laws
It is commonly known that Islam is one of the world's most popular religions. Islam appears to be somewhat different in India, even though its spiritual precepts are the same around the world. This is because Indian Islamic law is unique. I'll now discuss the background and roots of Muslim personal law. In addition to the Quran, which is their sacred book, the four schools for Sunnis are distinct from one another. The four schools were the Hanafi, Sahafi, Hanbali, and Maliki sects.

Muslim Law and Gender Equality
Muslim personal laws do not promote gender equality, which is a drawback of Islamic rules. Islamic law never accords women an equal standing to men; they always come second. Every judgment that the Indian civil courts have rendered in Muslim matters serves as proof of this. When it comes to marriage, age is always a deciding issue. According to the law, a girl who turns 18 and a boy who turns 21 must legally get married.

However, the situation is somewhat different for Muslims. As a result, even Islamic personal regulations that were based on religious teachings and customs could not be used as justification for the causes of gender disparity. The adoption of the Uniform Civil Code (Code) is made more essential by these provisions. In the case, Justice J.B Padriwala has said that "According to the personal law of Muslims, the girl, no sooner she attains puberty or completes 15 years of age, whichever is earlier, is competent to get married[4]".

Other Personal Laws
The gender gap was not excluded from the personal laws of Christianity. Before 2001, a husband just needed to provide evidence of adultery to receive a divorce, whereas a wife had to provide evidence of bigamy, adultery, dissertation, etc. But following the modification in 2001, both men and women were now able to enjoy equal enjoyment. One such instance of case Mary Roy v. State of Kerala.

"Nearly 47 years after the founding of the Constitution, Mary Roy has challenged the Travancore Christian Succession Act of 1916, a Christian personal law that is religiously prejudiced. According to the 1916 Travancore Christian Succession Act, giving the daughter rights and one-fourth of the son's shares was extremely unfair. The children of a Parsi woman who married a non-Parsi, however, do not have this trait. Several local women have complained about the behavior and requested judicial action".

Common Civil Law as a Personal Law Alternative?
When we consider every flaw in the personal laws, it becomes abundantly clear that these laws require a full revision to protect women's rights and promote gender equity. India is a secular nation that values all religious views with great curiosity. But it is also clear that these could harm the next generation because attitudes about gender roles and the teaching of how to live- in harmony with nature have altered from previous generations. Therefore, it is also clear from nature that laws need to be changed.

Due to the prevalence of common civil laws in Western countries, the common civil code is never a foreign concept. In plainer terms, the common civil code is the common law that applies to everyone, regardless of caste, race, creed, or religion. Customs, for example, might become a remedy for these private laws that deny women their rights.

Many academics have argued that by reducing court time and making laws easily accessible to the people, these common civil laws might significantly contribute to making the delivery of justice in India a beneficial development.

Some of the recommendations need to take into account whether or not the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) should be implemented. Because the unified civil code (UCC) is a socio-legal topic, many people oppose it, and those who have strong opinions in favor of it.

The issue has been utilized as a vote bank by numerous political parties, but their campaign promise has never materialized. Following thorough research on the matter, the following recommendations could be made regarding the Uniform Civil Code's actual implementation:
  • Establishing Article 44 of the Indian Constitution into existence:
    • Article 44 clearly says, "The state shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India"[5]. This should come into existence.
  • A judicial panel to consider the requests of religious leaders for creating common law:
    • To speak with the leaders of the various religions, a committee of judges, senior attorneys, professors of law, and highly qualified legal academics should be constituted.
  • To create a uniform civil code (UCC) based on moral principles and fundamental rights, giving religious practices and doctrines less weight:
    • The legislation of the impending uniform civil code (UCC) must be founded on morality and fundamental rights, giving religious practices and doctrines less weight.
  • To include gender equality as a topic in the classroom:
    • Children should be required to study gender equality in school. Despite having legislation like section 498A of the IPC, we are unable to completely address the issue at hand. Only by raising people's understanding and consciousness will this be possible.
  • To establish expedited courts for civil cases involving personal laws:
    • Due to the courts' arduous task of examining personal laws that differ for each religion, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) can make court work easier and verdicts and timely than usual.

Regardless of how unique their customs and traditions are. Is it time to end this now? To reunite India under a single law would be sensible. However, due to political misinterpretations and misuse by religious forces, it continues to be divisive. Constructing an agreement requires bringing together specialists from many communities and stages.

Take the best elements of their customs and methods, adapt them for the present, and bring them together under a single civil code. The Uniform Civil Code has significant advantages that contribute to the general improvement and development of Indian society, despite being the subject of bitter disputes.

  • Vikram Singh Slathia, Vikram Singh Slathia Quotes, Goodreads, (Aug 27, 2023, 11.35 AM)
  • INDIA CONST. art. 44
  • Ahmadabad Women's Action Group (AWAG) v. Union of India, (AIR 1997, 3 SCC 573)
  • Yunusbhai Usmanbhai Shaikh v. State of Gujarat, 2015(3) GLR 2512.
  • INDIA CONST. art. 44
Written By: Surya. A. Nair

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly