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Clamour For Uniform Civil Code

'All communal dispute will be end, when Uniform Civil Code become brand'

Abstract:
India is a democratic and secular country with no official religion. as a result, an Uniform Civil Code in India is urgently needed since it will eliminate partiality against any gender, caste, religion, or section of the population.

The implementation of Uniform Civil Code in India will help improve the enforcement of existing laws for Indian citizens. the primary goal of Uniform Civil Code in India should be to eradicate religiously motivated personal laws. The Uniform Civil Code was first recognized in 1930, when all India women's conference raised its voice in support of equal rights for women, regardless of religion, in areas of marriage, divorce, and property inheritance.

This article is about the research on the challenges caused by the lack of a Uniform Civil Code. It discusses the current difficulties confronting the country and how distinct individuals are treated in accordance with their respective laws. India is a huge, multilingual, and multireligious country united by a strong sense of national identity.

Everyone today is subject to their own personal laws in terms of marriage, succession, divorce, and other concerns. the term "secular" exists in the preamble of the constitution, and because all citizens are allowed the right to freely practise their religion, a secular state is one that does not interfere with people's religious practises.

Indian secularism makes it difficult for the state to form alliances. religion. Treat all citizens, regardless of religion, in accordance with "sarva dharma sambhav." due to the lack of social development in Indian society, some scholars have stated that the "Uniform Civil Code" [therefore UCC and so UCC is still an issue of contention in Indian context] is not suited for application in Indian society.

According to the researcher, this is owing to the fact that India is a huge country with a diverse range of cultures, faiths, and so on. UCC compliance could be viewed as an unnecessary state law demand that would violate a variety of religious and cultural practises. If UCC is implemented, tribe unification will become a problem. many tribal tribes in India still desire to be guided by their rituals. he potential of self-sufficiency secular procedural statutes and other pieces of legislation give another exemption to this criterion. a remarkable unanimity among the general public has recently been required to impose a UCC across the country.

What is UCC?

The full form of UCC is Uniform Civil Code and it deals with the formulation of one singular law for the whole nation which would deal the following aspects like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption irrespective of the social, cultural and religious background. In India, UCC is majorly discussed in the context of religion that's why the term 'secular' or 'secularism' is repeatedly connected with UCC.

The origin of Code dates back to the British Colonial era, when for the first time the officials of the British government submitted their report in 1835, which stressed on the need for the Uniformity in the codification of Indian laws relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts. Specifically recommending that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept outside such codification.

Increase in the legislations dealing with personal issues in the far end of the British rule created an immediate necessity for the government to form the B. N. Rau committee to codify the Hindu law in 1941. The main objective of the committee was to examine the question of the requirement of common laws. The committee in accordance with scriptures, recommended a codified Hindu law, which would give equal rights to women. In 1937 the act was reviewed and the committee recommended a Civil Code of marriage and succession for Hindus.

Looking into the Indian Constitution, we find the presence of UCC under Article 44 of Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV).

Article 44 states:
"The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India."

The main reason behind the inclusion of Civil Code in Article 44 was to address the discrimination against vulnerable groups across country. However, it was very vigilantly included in Directive Principles which ensured the suggestive nature of UCC. The reason behind this instance of the Constitutional Assembly was given by Dr B. R. Ambedkar (head of Drafting Committee), that the nation is not ready to adopt Civil Code during the time of independence. It was incorporated in the constitution as an aspect that would be fulfilled when the nation would be ready to accept it and the social acceptance to the Uniform Civil Code would be made.

Need for UCC?

India is a country of vast diversity with second largest population in the world. People here are deeply rooted to their cultures, traditions and religion in such a way that it's impossible to separate people from these aspects. So, for respecting this traditional & religious diversity of masses, respective personal laws were formulated by the eminent legal thinkers.

These personal laws are applicable on certain pre-defined groups to the legal issues related to inheritance, succession, adoption, marriage, co-parenting, obligation of sons to pay their father's debts, partition of family property, guardianship and charitable donations. But because of the non-Uniformity and complexity of these personal laws, multiple challenges have evolved in their implementation, thereby creating the demand for civil code

Following are the multiple reasons which have been traced by the legal researchers since the time of independence, regarding the need for UCC:

  • Gender disparity arising out of separate laws for different religious groups:
    It is the sad reality of our Indian society that our traditions and beliefs are patriarchal and misogynist in nature going on for perpetuity since the Vedic period. Most of religions in India follow patriarchy with variance in their degree. The most basic example being the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims, where Hindu laws are somewhat more favourable for the women rights as compared to the Shariat law of Muslims.

    Due to these flaws and differences in various personal laws, a comparative gender disparity has arisen not only between men and women but also among the women professing different religions. These issues have been raised by women multiple times like the Talaq-e-biddat or Triple Talaq issue.
     
  • Personal laws creating a loophole in the legal system:
    Personal laws are formulated in such a way to ensure their conformity to the religious beliefs and practices where the majority opinion is held to be correct. But there have been various visible instances where to maintain this conformity of personal laws it directly gets in conflict with the constitutional laws.

    And in such a situation where, two valid laws of opposite nature are applicable on the public simultaneously, it creates confusing situations for the members of the legal fraternity as well as for the netizens in determining to obey which law. And sometimes these personal laws give acceptance to the mob lynching and female foeticide which are strong abusers of human rights with no legal implications because of the tussle of personal and constitutional laws.
     
  • Aiding in the national integrity:
    A pan India law formulated in respect of any matter like marriage or succession, it would not only clear the gap between genders but would be applicable to all people of the nation irrespective of their caste, creed, race, gender and religion. When everyone is treated equally under law, it creates a psychological impact on the minds of the subjects towards a feeling of national integrity or nationalism.

    A beautiful example can be cited from our armed forces where Uniformity of martial rules is maintained for all the soldiers and officers irrespective of their ranks, that's why their nationalistic feelings and readiness to serve the country is much higher as compared to a normal citizen. With the implementation of the UCC, a greater sense of belonging towards the nation would automatically be developed in the minds of people.
     
  • Curbing the vote bank politics:
    Even after 75 years of independence, it is the dark reality of the Indian politics, that people's vote here are still divided on the basis caste and religion. Different political parties seek the votes for themselves by providing proposals of personal laws in their election manifestos as a lure for attracting votes of a particular community or religion.

    Finding personal laws as an easy alternative to their problems, innocent public give their vote to the ill motived politicians and thereby creating a room for their vote bank politics. If the concept of Uniform Civil Code is implemented, then it would definitely help in removing the vote bank politics from our country.
     
  • To promote Secularism:
    In the preamble of our Indian constitution, our preamble includes many words like sovereign, socialist, democratic, republic, etc one of the words is 'secular'. If we go with the literal meaning of this word it means 'not connected with religious or spiritual matters' but in relation to our constitution this word means that India as state would not prioritize any specific religion for the country and its people.

    The word secular was incorporated in the preamble in 1976 by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act. In India we are currently practising 'selective secularism' under which we that we are secular in some areas but not in others. But the need of the hour is for 'complete secularism' where all the aspects are covered equally.


Issues faced in the implementation of UCC:

The concept and motive of the Uniform Civil Code appears to be a very much pragmatic and rational way to govern things. Its implementation would help in the resolution of the above-mentioned challenges for our legal system and for the society as well. But it's not a piece of cake to implement UCC in case of Indian scenario.

It faces multiple challenges in its practical implementation. Since we achieved independence, various governments have passed on but none of them was successful in implanting UCC at a pan-India level. The NDA alliance for the first time in 2015 proposed to implement UCC all over the country, however it is still a dream not reality. In our country, only the state of Goa is there which has UCC in force where every person is treated equally under law irrespective of their religion.

Following are the possibly visible issues which we may face in the implementation of UCC:

  • Religious orthodoxy of citizens: religion playing a dominant role in India citizen's life, also has implications in the implementation of UCC. There are some strict orthodox people in every religion who will defend their religious beliefs at any cost, their prime duty is to stubbornly follow their religious laws even though inequality is being caused due to those laws. If UCC comes into force than it would make the personal laws to vanish, which may face a huge backlash from these religious adherents. It's basically an ever-going tussle between freedom of religion and the right to equality both of which are provided an equal status in our constitution i.e. fundamental rights.
     
  • Copy-Cat of the Western Culture:
    With the implementation of UCC, we will be just following the trajectory of western countries and there would be nothing innovative of ours. As well as, the cultural and religious scenario is much more diverse and complex as compared to the western societies, maybe UCC is the not the exact solution for the Indian case.
     
  • Misconception of the aftermath of UCC:
    There is a myth among the minorities that after the implementation of UCC, it would lead to the by default convergence of minorities to follow or adjust with the majority religion's belief. For example, in the present-day India scenario the myth among minorities is that if a bill regarding UCC is brought into the parliament by the NDA government than it would lead to the conversion of India from a secular to Hindu state.
     
  • Lack of full understanding of UCC:
    The major issue regarding the UCC is that Indian people are not understanding its real objective and its benefits. It's because of the lack of education and awareness of majority of the population. This problem is added up with the fake news and rumours on social media. This issue can be systematically resolved by providing legal education to citizens at every level.


Goa ( an example of Uniform Civil Code )
Goa is currently the only state that follows a Uniform Civil Code. It is because Goa follows the goa Civil Code, which is based on Portuguese law, while the rest of India follows Indian law, which is based on English common law. In Goa, there is no provision for polygamy or verbal divorce, and property is divided into two parts following divorce. Most regulations in goa are Uniform, regardless of caste, religion, or gender, however goa does not closely adhere to Uniformity in certain areas, such as education.

Under certain conditions specified in the Codes of usages and customs of gentile Hindus of Goa, Hindu men have the right to bigamy.

Divorce is only permissible for Hindus if the woman commits adultery.

Landmark cases related to Uniform Civil Code and secularism

Smt Sarla Mudgal, President ,Kalyani v/s Union of India
This case is regarded by the Supreme Court as a watershed moment. The practise of changing one's religion in order to obtain a second marriage without dissolving the first was considered illegal. It was a violation of justice, equity, and morality. In the case of Sarla Mudgal, the husband changed his religion and converted to Islam with the sole intention of marrying another woman.

Court's view:
The institution of marriage is one in which the general public has strong intrest. It is the pillar of the family and, consequently, of society, and without it, there can be no Civilisation.

In India, there has never been a single matrimonial law. In addition to statutes like the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937, a marriage is governed by the personal law of the spouses. Simply because one of the parties changed religion, a marriage that was performed under a particular law and personal law could not be dissolved under another personal law.

And in this instance, merely changing your religion forbids you from being married to another woman. Due to this, a Hindu man's second marriage will be invalid until his first marriage is dissolved.

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