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Uniform Civil Code: Not A Need Of An Hour

Indian constitution always inclines towards providing Uniform Civil Code to its citizens, which depicts the sense of equality, unity, harmony, and equal treatment before law, equal punishment and this all in irrespective of religion, race or sex. This could be an ideal and absolute goal for developing country like India.

But this must always be kept in mind that this ideology has never been easy when it comes for its enforcement. Back in the time of constituent assembly this idea has been strongly debated subject in length, but at the end of the day senior members of the assembly ultimately decided to not put Uniform civil code as a legitimate right, as there was crucial level of opposition which was arising from Muslim members of the society.

This is well kept in mind that people like B.N. Rau and B.R. Ambedkar have always argued to let personal laws omitted from the aura of religion. Always questioned and commented that Muslims need to come out of orthodox mentality and must support Uniform Civil Code.

In early 1950's Ambedkar has also argued to include Uniform Civil Code in various aspects but later he modified his statement and said UCC could be an ideal goal for future. Muslim members strongly argued that Muslim personal laws has its deep roots in the holy book Quran and as according to that they need to follow that and not anything which is written in law book of country, so at that particular point of time there was a serious tussle between the supremacy of law book or the religion, the tussle has gone through various aspects and then committee faced serious opposition with the statements as the UCC will be quiet or discriminatory for the minorities in the society and then resolution has passed to not put UCC as the fundamental right and to cover it under Directive principles of state policy. The matter when dealt by Former Prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru about opposition of Uniform Civil Code he also supported the aspect of committee to set it as future goal for India.

Even after 73 years situations has not much changed, we still have communal riots that do increases in our society, the moment government come up with the new bill which includes laws on communal aspect, riots, upheaval and unnecessary fights occurs. We all should never forget when President Donald Trump was invited to India and when two leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump were discussing geopolitics in other side of the capital there were thousands on the road opposing government's bill and spreading communal violence.

This must be clearly noticed that uniforming various culture and traditions under a roof will be crucial step and a political challenge as well and might create a social disruption. And for this particular matter even proclaiming the bill to codified personal laws will not help but the truth is there's even more loss if not done any more.

While speaking about Muslim community we must know that there are schools like Shias and Sunnis and among them there are clear perspective of theological thoughts as Ithna, Asharia, Ismailia, Hanafi, Maliki etc. and all of them have their different origination or jurisprudence as there sects and religious duties are also different from each other as well. Taking all this into a consideration this is an important aspect to think upon as it would be a sheer speculation to put such different minorities in a common platform and bother or make it compulsory for them to follow it. Also, this will be a perilous stunt to take risk and do such complex socio-political challenge.

While the matter to implement Uniform civil code, we must take into consideration the facts that made it impossible to implement. As there no specific termed draft in the scenario present anywhere so that people could really understand or discuss the real motive behind implementing UCC. There's no content available on UCC on which eight individuals in a committee agreed upon, this is totally out of record that how much worthy was that original draft was as it hasn't recognised or endorsed.

Also the situations or how existing laws will be dealt is not clear whether there scope of activism will be broadened or there will be new secular common laws that will come in effect replacing the existing or the laws that is operated or prevails in one particular religion will enact over the other who are in the position of minority.

We must know there are several requirements or religious rites of each and every religion, talking about Hindu religion the Saptpadi ceremony which is clearly mentioned in Section 7 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. According to which Groom and Bride needed to take seven rounds of holy fire to make the marriage legitimate, or will prohibited marriages will be dealt.

 Basically this is not yet clear how UCC is going to deal with this subject and how will other ceremonies for the validation of marriage will be dealt in the new set of rules.

Muslims always have their big devotion towards their religious rites this is completely unknown that how will new set of rules deal with Nikah and Mehr like important terms in Muslim marriage or how the methods to take divorce in Muslim community named Talaq will be dealt or what will be the ideal method of dissolution of marriage and in practical aspect things won't work in assumptions.

Fundamentally there are some important subjects need to be dealt before implementing or introducing UCC. As we need to examine current situation, about whether this whole process is required or contains any element of success to unfold the long process of making new rules and laws.

According to Baba Saheb Ambedkar before introducing any rules and legislation which contains provisions that affect functionality of whole nation, one thing must be examined by government whether the position of that matter in States and Centre are at same position or not so that it will help authorities to cope in such a contentious matter. And one of the basic questions is whether these uniform laws will be acceptable to every section of the society, as this would be the basic place where successful implementation of any law is lied upon.

States must take care, that laws related to personal matters of religion and culture are deeply attached in emotional and sensitive aspect. Any step towards these matters usually considered as interference or trespass or intercession to their personal laws and fundamental freedom. This could also be possible that there may be rise of social disturbance and plunge in economy of the nation. This could be a biased view but yes, the reason behind not passing any recent laws and recommendations by the Parliament of India is that, the matter involves sensitive aspects of law and at big the regional and religious questions, on which if any decision will be made, later termed discriminatory.

Speaking about the Supreme Court of India, while judging the important judgement of The Triple Case[1], it was minutely checked and given importance that whether the dilemma of the personal laws come under the ambit of the apex Court of India or not and especially whether Supreme Court is competent to adjudge that or not. And this was the basic reason the case has been dealt with the formulation of legislation in the Parliament which still faced serious opposition. But the question related to Uniform Civil Code remains same whether the current position of country or the world's fastest growing economy needs to implement such a complex matter that could even burst its current economic and social model.

Highlighting one of the most prominent case laws as Kesavananda Bharti v.Union of India[2] where first time ever the bench of 13 Judges were held clearly mentioned in the judgment that any act or law if passes by the government which in any case infringe the Fundamental rights or freedom of the citizens of India or will amend any basic structure of the Constitution will be void ab initio. Interlinking it with matter of Uniform Civil Code the matter involves the basic strategy of amending the basic provision of Constitution, mentioned in Part III, Article 25, Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion, amending which is void at very initial level as well.

Working of government is already full with lot of duties as settling the dwindling economy, Provide corruption free government, keep inflation and fiscal deficit under control, Decimate black money from the system, Promote Make in India and Skilling India initiatives more, should work on implementing the principles of Sustainable development and principles of United Nations General Assembly on Environment, Must provide pure drinking water, 24 hours electricity and many more. These primary goals are not yet achieved and we are aiming for really big and between all this aspiring reforms like UCC seem to be extremely slim.

Concluding the matter I would say that even despite of clogged delivery system and long pendency of cases, there is still some amount of uniformity in many areas as talking about Civil Jurisprudence Contract Law, Transfer of Property, Taxation laws and Labour laws are already uniform and in Criminal Jurisprudence it is already uniformed.

Focussing on the facts, when the Government of India asked the view of Law of Commission of India on the matter of Uniform Civil Code, basically question was raised in June, 2016 and answered by Chairman of Law Commission of India, Justice B.S. Chauhan two years later in simple words that:
Uniform Civil Code neither necessary nor desirable at this stage and quoted the reason as we do not need to implement it as, difference does not always imply discrimination in a robust democracy and so a unified nation does not necessarily need to have Uniformity.

Before taking such a big step of implementing UCC some smaller steps must be taken as confidence building measures must be taken through community dialogues and meanwhile various expert committees must be appointed to examine ground reality as well as ground feasibility.

This process will be whole big and till its completion nation and its citizen can breathe easily and government must focus on better justice delivery system, upgraded infrastructure and empowering women and most promote unity as well diversity throughout the country. All of these is much more necessary to enable its growth which is significantly needed at this point of time to carry on its growth perspectives without any distraction and interpolation.

End-Notes:
  1. Shayara Bano v. Union of India The Triple Talaq (2017) 9 SCC 1
  2. Kesavananda Bharti v. Union of India (1973) 4 SCC 225: AIR 1973 SC 1461


Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Shashwat Jain

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