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How Implementing A Uniform Civil Code Could Bridge Legal Divides In India

Uniform civil code refers to a common set of law which apply to all the citizen of the nation irrespective of their cast, religion, customs. uniform civil code is a proposal in India till today. India is country with full of diversity number of different cast, religion and customs are getting carried since long time.

We have many uniform laws like Indian contract act, Indian penal code, civile procedure code this law applies on everyone irrespective of their religion. but divorce, marriage and inheritance get governed by the personal laws. Indian have number of religion and approximately every religion have their own personal law in many case the supreme court of India refused to inter fair in the personal laws. sometime this persona law becomes contradictive to the uniform laws.

What Is Uniform Civil Code?

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a draft uniform set of laws applicable to all citizens of a country, regardless of their religious or ethnic background, especially in matters of personal law. Personal laws cover aspects such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption, and are often influenced by religious scriptures and customs. The idea behind the UCC is to replace diverse and community-specific personal laws with a unified and secular legal framework

Objective Behind Implementation Uniform Civil Code

In the context of India, the objectives associated with the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) are shaped by the country's unique social, cultural and legal environment. The debate surrounding the UCC in India is often framed in the context of different personal laws governing different religious communities. The main objectives of the UCC in relation to India includes:
  • Gender Equality:
    • Equal rights for women: Eliminate discriminatory practices contained in personal laws and provide women with equal rights and opportunities in matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
    • Empowerment of women: Promote the empowerment of women by ensuring that they have the same legal status and rights as men in family and personal matters.
  • Protection of Secularism:
    • Religious neutrality: Establish a secular legal framework and remove religious rules and personal law diversity.
    • Equal treatment across religion: Ensure that all citizens of different religions must be subjected to the same law, promoting equality and impartiality.
  • Social Justice:
    • Elimination of Discrimination: Address historical injustices and discriminatory practices embedded in personal laws and promote a fairer and more just society.
    • Protection of Minority Rights: Protect the rights of minority communities and individuals by providing a legal framework that respects their cultural and religious diversity.
  • National Integrity:
    • Cultivating unity: Foster national integration by providing a common legal code that transcends religious and cultural differences and fosters a sense of common citizenship.
  • Legal Simplicity and Uniformity:
    • Simplifying legal processes: Streamline legal processes related to marriage, divorce, and inheritance so that they are more accessible and understandable to the general population.
    • Uniform legal standards: Establish uniform legal standards across the country, reduce complexity, and ensure the uniformity of legal procedures.

History Of Personal Law In India

When the British came in India and stablished their courts (1862) in city of Calcutta, Bombay and madras they had their own law but because of Indian religious diversity they appointed Kazis and pandits in court. as Hindus followed their sastra laws which is interpreted by pandit and Muslims believe in sharia which was written in Urdu so Kazi interpret them before the court in order to give punishment to the culprit[1].

After independence in 1949 constitution assembly had huge discussion on the topic of uniform civil code. uniform civil code was in Art 35 of the constitution assembly draft in this discussion assembly members given their advice regarding this code Mohamad Ismail advice to add a clause which was provided that any group, section or community of people shall not be obliged to give up its own personal law in case it has such a law.

The debate over the draft article sparked conflict in the assembly. Most of the opposition to the draft article came from Muslim members who moved amendments to keep personal laws out of its scope. One member suggested a caveat that would only make the draft article operational with prior community approval.

Arguments mobilized to attack the draft article included - first, that the Uniform Civil Code violates freedom of religion; secondly, that it would create disharmony within the Muslim community; and thirdly, that it was wrong to interfere with personal law without the consent of the particular religious communities involved.

A member of the drafting committee defended this provision, arguing that a uniform civil code was important to maintain the unity of the country and the secular recognition of the constitution. He reminded the Muslim members that this was not a provision that would affect only the Muslim community - even the Hindu community.

He further added that women's rights can never be secured without a uniform civil code. At the end of the debate, it was clarified that there is nothing new about the Uniform Civil Code: there is already a common civil code in India. The only difference with the new code was that it would apply to marriage and inheritance - which were not covered by the existing code.

It was also pointed out that this is a directive principle, the state is not obliged to bring the provisions into effect immediately and should do so only after obtaining the consent of all municipalities. after a long discussion constitution assembly with majority of 5:4 added the uniform civil code in chapter five (directive principle of state policy) of Indian constitution. In 1955 election congress party given codification of Hindu personal law as an election manifesto and the party considered wining as consent for codification of the Hindu personal law and in 1955 the Hindu personal law got codified [2]

Indian Constitution On Uniform Civil Code

Article 44:

It requires the state to strive to secure for the citizens of india a uniform civil code throughout India.[3]

However, Article 37 states that "The provisions contained in this Part (Part IV) are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down therein are nevertheless fundamental to the governance of the country and it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws"[4]

It means that these provisions of the Constitution of India are not enforceable which means they cannot be enforced by any court. But the principles are considered fundamental in the governance of the country. It is the duty of the Central and State Governments to apply these principles while making laws to establish a just society in the country.

Other Constitutional Provision Regarding Religious Freedom And Secularism

  • Article 15: No discrimination on the ground of sex, race, religion, caste, birthplace
  • Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion with reasonable restrictions on grounds of public order, health, and morality
  • Article 25(2): Ensures the regulation of secular activities associated with religious practices, social welfare, and reforms
  • Article 26: Right to establish and administer educational institutes
  • Article 27: Prohibition to the state from imposing any tax on proceedings which are for religious benefit
  • Article 28: Deals with the issue of religious instruction in educational institutes


The 42nd Constitution Amendment Act inserted the word "secularism" in the preamble. In the case of S.R Bommai vs Union of India, the Supreme Court held secularism to be an essential feature of the Constitution.[5]

Benefit Of Uniform Civil Code For India

It will help to reduce vote bank politics - UCC will also help to reduce the vote bank politics that most political parties indulge in during every election.

It will integrate India - India is a country with many religions, customs and practices. The Uniform Civil Code will help integrate India more than it has ever done since independence. It will help bring every Indian, irrespective of his caste, religion or tribe, under one national civil code of conduct.

Personal laws are a loophole - by allowing personal laws we have created an alternative justice system that still operates on thousands of years old values. The Uniform Civil Code would change that.

All Indians should be treated equally: all laws relating to marriage, inheritance, family, land, etc. should be the same for all Indians. The UCC is the only way to ensure that all Indians are treated equally.

It will give more rights to women: Religious personal laws are misogynistic in nature and by continuing to allow old religious rules to govern family life, we are condemning all Indian women to subjugation and mistreatment. A uniform civil code will also help to improve the status of women in India.

Change is a law of nature: a minority of people should not be allowed to choose the laws by which they wish to be governed. These personal laws were formulated in a specific time-space context and should not stop in a changed time and context.

It promotes true secularism - The Uniform Civil Code does not mean that it will restrict the freedom of people to practice their religion, it only means that everyone will be treated equally and all citizens of India will have to follow the same laws irrespective of any religion.

Sign of a modern progressive nation- It is a sign that the nation has moved away from caste and religious politics. While our economic growth has been significant, our social growth has lagged behind. UCC will help society move forward and lead India to its goal of becoming a truly developed nation.

States Having Uniform Civil Code

GOA is the only state that having uniform civil code. In 1867 portages country made portages civil code at that time goa was Portugal colony so portages civil code applied in goa also 19 December 1996 when become the part of India Portugal civil code was continued same as it was earlier.

The Portuguese Civil Code in Goa continued in India under Article 5(1) of the Administration of Goa, Daman and Diu Act 1962, by which the new Indian administration decreed that "all laws in force immediately before the appointed day (the day Goa was exempted on 19 December 1961) in Goa, Daman and Diu or any part thereof shall remain in force therein until amended or repealed by the appropriate Legislature or other competent authority.'

The law provides for the compulsory registration of marriages before the civil office, thereby ensuring that the wife is an equal heir and is entitled to half of the "joint property", including the property inherited by her husband in the event of divorce (unless there is a prenuptial agreement to the contrary) and that the parents must share at least half of the property with their children, including daughters.

Indian Parliament On Uniform Civil Code

Uniform civil code was always in the manifesto of Bhartiya Janta party from it initial days now the Bhartiya Janta party had decide to introduce a bill on implementation of Uniform civil code in the monsoon session of parliament.

Under article 245 and 246 of the constitution centre and state legislature have power to make and implement laws. by using this article Uttarakhand becomes the 1st state to implement uniform civil code in their state

The Uniform Civil Code Bill, 2019

Article 3 of this bill talks Constitution of National Control an Investigation Committee "central government within six months constitute a committee for making and implementation of the uniform civil code which will know as national inspection and investigation committee. the committee will consist of a chairperson, two ex-office member of law ministry and home affair ministry) two members who were former Chief Justices of the High Courts, be nominated by the Central Government, one member nominated by central government and having adequate knowledge and expertise in law, one ex office secretary. the member and chairperson hold their office for period of three years.[6]

Section 4 of this act says the duty of the committee is to take such measures as it deems appropriate, for the codification and implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in the Country.

Section 5 of this act says that it will be duty of the central government to give appropriate funds. According to sec 6 of this act the central government can remove any provision which is disturbing for the implementation of the uniform civil code [7]

Supreme Court On Uniform Civil Code

In case of STATE OF BOMBAY V. NARASU APPA 1952 in this case a man was convicted for the bigamy under BOMBAY PRIVENTION OF BIGAMOUS HINDU MARRIAGE ACT culprit argument was this act is against his religion. At that time in Hindus if a man has no son from her 1st wife in that case that man have marry another woman in order to get moksha because according to Hindu religion only funeral completed by the hands of the son can give moksha. The supreme court rejected all his contention and punished him for bigamy[8]

In John Vellamettam Vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court declared Section 118 of Indian Succession Act 1925 as unconstitutional. Justice Khare said, "It is mentioned in Article 44 that the State of India shall endeavor to provide a uniform civil code to all citizens. However, it is said that Article 44 mentioned in the Constitution has not been implemented correctly. However, a uniform civil code would help in establishing national integration avoiding contradictions based on ideologies".[9]

Decision to introduce juvenile justice (child care and protection)The 2015 Act appears to be a step towards a Uniform Civil Code as it allows people Muslim community to adopt children while Muslims are not allowed to adopt children according to their personal laws. The Supreme Court again asked the government to do so implement the Uniform Civil Code to put an end to gender inequality and wrongful traditions prevailing under personal laws

Some important judgement of supreme court on Muslim law provision
The most land mark case on Muslim personal law is Mohamad Ahmand Khan v/s. Shah Bano Begam in this case after 40 year of marriage and 5 child her husband given divorce to her. she claimed maintenance under sec 125 of crpc. Husband given his contention that a Muslim woman cannot ask for long term maintenance. supreme court of India rejected his contention and granted her maintenance under sec 125 of crpc. in this case the supreme court of India highlighted the importance of Uniform civil code and said uniform civil code will work for national integration and provide better solution at the time of ideological conflict.[10]

Shah Bano case was such a progressive judgement at that time which was over ruled by the parliament of India by passing Muslim woman (protection on divorce act) 1986

The case of Sarla Mudgal Vs. The Indian Union is another example of this The Supreme Court under Article 44 again ordered the Govt. The Supreme Court said so that converting to Islam for marriage is an abuse of personal laws. It said Hindu marriage they can be dissolved only under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 which means after conversion to Islam a marriage contracted thereafter cannot be dissolved under the Hindu Marriage Act and it is an offense under section 494(5) of the Indian Penal Code[11]

In 2017 another landmark case came before the Patna supreme court of India Shayara Bano V. UOI 2017 in this shayara Bano challenged three practices of Muslim personal law the Talak-E-Bidat, Nikah Halala, Polygamya and argued that this provision are derogatory and discriminatory. all India Muslim personal law board argued that Muslim personal law is not codified so Muslim personal law is subjected to protection under article 25 of Indian constitution which means Muslim personal law is not subjected to judicial review means Muslim personal law cannot be challenged constitutionally. supreme court with the majority of 3:2 ratio declared talak -e-bidat unconstitutional[12]

In 2023 a PIL was filed before supreme court of India. the supreme court held that parliament is the appropriate authority for implement uniform civil code

Government Have Only Uniform Civil Code As Option In Order To Promote Equality And Intigratiy?

Uniform civil code is not a only solution in the hand of government. Indian constitution gives number of powers in hand of state and central government

Article 245 of the Constitution of India talks about the scope of laws made by Parliament and State Legislatures. It gives Parliament the power to make laws and gives the legislature the power to repeal them.[13]

245(1): Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Parliament may make laws for the whole of the territory of India or any part thereof, and the Legislature of a State may make laws for the whole of the State or any part thereof.

245(2): No law made by Parliament shall be invalid on the ground that it has extraterritorial application

ARTICLE 255: No Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of a State specified in Part A or Part B of the First Schedule, and no provision in any such Act, shall be invalid merely by reason of failure to give any recommendation or previous sanction required by this Constitution. if consent to this Act has been given -
  1. if the Governor's recommendation has been sought, either by the Governor or by the President;
  2. if the recommendation of the Rajpramukh was sought, either the Rajpramukh or the President;
  3. if the recommendation or prior sanction of the President was required, the President.
By using these two article the parliament can filter the existing laws and rules and make new laws in order to promote equality and integrity.

Country's Implemented Uniform Civil Code

No country has fully implemented a uniform civil code that covers all the personal affairs of its citizens. However, some countries such as France, Germany and Turkey have aspects of uniformity in their civil codes that apply to all citizens regardless of their religion or belief.

Is This Union Civil Code Is A Hindu Muslim Debate
In comparison to Muslim law Hindu law is more codified and if we talk about the lenient approach Muslim law have more lenient approach towards male of their community like fours marriage is allowed for Muslim male , woman's have less inheritance, and strict for woman's like halala and others if this uniform civil code comes it will Hindus and Muslim on same footing in order to protect secularism and promote integrity and woman's of all community will get treated by same rule which will protect gender equality . so, we can say that some party of both the community might getting worried about losing their superiority in this religion discrimination otherwise this is not a topic of debate for any religion

Uniform civil code is very important for a country like India which is full of diversity in culture and religion. in order to promote equality and remove gender inequality in the country uniform civil code should be adopted in the country .at time of making of constitution India was facing so many issues so directive principle of state policy was made as a goal for the state to achieve and enforce them according to the capacity of the state now the time is come to implement this directive principle of state policy.

  • M.P Jain, Indian Constitution Law, Eighth Edition
  • Indian Penal Code 1860
  • Indian Succession Act 1956
  • Hindu Marriage Act 1955
  • Uniform Civil Code 2019
  1. Justice M. Rama Jois, Legal and Constitutional History of India (8th Edition 2016)
  2. Constitutional Assembly Debate on Uniform Civil Code
  3. J. Jasti Chelameswar and J. Dama Seshadri Naidu, Indian Constitution Law 1490 (14th floor, Gurgaon, Haryana, 8th edition)
  4. J. Jasti Chelameswar and J. Dama Seshadri Naidu, Indian Constitution Law (14th floor, Gurgaon, Haryana, 8th edition)
  5. J. Jasti Chelameswar and J. Dama Seshadri Naidu, Indian Constitution Law 1781 (14th floor, Gurgaon, Haryana, 8th edition)
  6. Uniform Civil Code bill 2019
  7. Uniform Civil Code bill 2019
  8. State Of Bombay V. Narasu Appa (AIR 1952)
  9. John Vellamettam Vs. Union of India (AIR 2003)
  10. Mohamad Ahmand Khan V. Shah Bano Begam (AIR 1985)
  11. Sharla Mudgal Vs. The Indian Union (AIR 1995)
  12. Shayara Bano V. UOI (AIR 2017)
  13. J. Jasti Chelameswar and J. Dama Seshadri Naidu, Indian Constitution Law (14th floor, Gurgaon, Haryana, 8th edition)

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