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Deliberation on Uniform Civil Code and Scope of Implementation

How UCC will change India?

By Bhawarth S. SaraswatPublished 7 months ago 11 min read
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What is UCC?

Hello! Today we'll learn about the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The UCC is a set of laws that apply to everyone in a country, no matter what religion or beliefs they have. It's like having one rulebook for everyone, especially for things like marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption. Right now, these matters are governed by different laws based on different religions or communities.

The main goal of the Uniform Civil Code is to make sure that all citizens are treated equally and fairly. It wants to get rid of any unfair practices that might happen because of religious or cultural differences. By having a single code that applies to everyone, it ensures that everyone gets the same treatment under the law. So, it's all about promoting equality and justice for everyone in the country.

Beginning of uniform civil code

Let's talk about the history of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Before independence, India had three prominent laws: Criminal law, Commercial law, and Civil law. These laws were made by the British, and their main motive was to control and exploit India, not giving equal benefits to Indian citizens. After independence, when India's constitution was created under the leadership of PM Jawaharlal Nehru, there were some special provisions given to civil laws, especially for Muslims, so they could practice their civil rituals according to their religious beliefs. However, criminal law and commercial laws were equal for everyone.

But there were some discriminations observed in Muslim laws, especially affecting Muslim women. The most well-known problem was the practice of triple talaq, where Muslim women faced a lot of difficulties. After a Supreme Court order, triple talaq was banned, but there are still some aspects of Muslim law that are not appreciated by many.

The issue of UCC was brought into the spotlight in 1985 during the Shah Bano case. The Supreme Court ruled that Shah Bano, a Muslim woman, should receive alimony from her ex-spouse. This led to discussions on the need for a uniform civil code that would apply to all citizens, irrespective of their religion, to ensure gender equality and secularism.

The demand for a uniform civil code was first made by women activists in the early 20th century. They wanted equal rights, gender equality, and a secular approach to laws. While some law reforms were made to improve the condition of women, especially Hindu widows, the full implementation of a uniform civil code faced significant opposition.

In 1956, the Hindu Code Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament, which aimed to reform Hindu personal laws. Though Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and women activists supported the idea of a uniform civil code, due to heavy opposition, it was added to the Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution, which means it is not enforceable by courts, but the government should work towards implementing it.

The UCC continues to be a topic of debate in Indian politics, with some arguing that it is essential for gender equality and secularism, while others view it as an attempt to impose Hindu beliefs. However, it is crucial to recognize that the benefits of a UCC would extend to all citizens, including Muslim women, daughters, and children, ensuring equal rights and opportunities for everyone.

Indian constitution on uniform civil code

Now! Let's explore the Indian Constitution's provisions on the Uniform Civil Code and its significance.

The Indian Constitution, in Article 44, has a special provision for the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as part of the Directive Principles of State Policy. It states that the State should make efforts to establish a uniform civil code for all citizens across India.

Now, you might be wondering, what exactly are Directive Principles of State Policy? Well, they are like guiding principles for the government, encouraging them to consider certain ideals while governing the country. Though these principles are not legally enforceable by the courts, they play a crucial role in shaping the policies and laws of the country.

The idea of a Uniform Civil Code has been frequently brought up by the Supreme Court in various cases. The court has highlighted the need for the executive and the legislature to take concrete steps towards implementing this directive.

But what does a Uniform Civil Code mean? In simple terms, it's about having one set of laws that apply to all citizens, regardless of their religion or beliefs, especially in matters related to personal issues like marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption. Currently, different religious communities in India follow their own personal laws for these matters, which sometimes leads to disparities and unequal treatment.

The aim of the Uniform Civil Code is to ensure fairness, equality, and justice for all citizens, regardless of their religious background. It seeks to eliminate any discrimination based on religion and promote a sense of unity and commonality among all Indians.

However, it's essential to understand that the Directive Principles of State Policy are not legally binding. So, while Article 44 encourages the State to work towards a Uniform Civil Code, its implementation depends on the political will and consensus among different stakeholders.

In conclusion, the Indian Constitution's Article 44 emphasizes the importance of a Uniform Civil Code, aiming to create a harmonious and just society for all citizens. It calls on the government to take steps in this direction, but its realization depends on the collective efforts of the executive, legislature, and society as a whole.

Need of uniform civil code

  • Promotes Real Secularism:

In the current scenario, India practices selective secularism, which means that some aspects of life are secular, while others are not. Different religious communities have their own personal laws that govern matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.

A Uniform Civil Code aims to change this by treating all citizens of India equally, irrespective of their religious beliefs. It ensures that everyone follows the same set of laws, creating a truly secular and inclusive society.

Implementing a Uniform Civil Code doesn't mean imposing restrictions on religious practices. Instead, it emphasizes that every individual should be subject to the same civil laws, guaranteeing real secularism and equal treatment for all.

  • Ensures Equality for All Indians:

The current personal laws based on specific religions lead to disparities and unequal treatment under the law. For example, while Muslims can practice polygamy, other religious communities may face legal consequences for the same actions.

A Uniform Civil Code seeks to establish uniformity in laws related to marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance. This ensures that all Indians, regardless of their religious background, are treated equally before the law.

By adopting a Uniform Civil Code, India can uphold the principle of equality enshrined in its Constitution and promote fairness and justice for every citizen.

  • Empowers Women:

In many personal laws, women face unequal treatment and discrimination. For instance, some religious practices may deny women their rights to inheritance or subject them to unfair divorce proceedings.

A Uniform Civil Code would help improve the condition of women in Indian society by ensuring gender equality in personal matters. It would provide them with equal rights and opportunities, fostering their empowerment and well-being.

By eliminating discriminatory practices and bringing uniformity in personal laws, a Uniform Civil Code would contribute to a more just and progressive society where women's rights are protected and respected.

  • Reflects Modernity:

Many modern and developed nations have adopted a Uniform Civil Code. It is a sign of progress and an indication of a society moving beyond traditional and divisive religious politics.

India, as a rapidly developing nation, should strive to embrace modern principles and norms. A Uniform Civil Code aligns with this vision and demonstrates a commitment to moving forward as a modern and forward-thinking country.

Embracing a Uniform Civil Code would represent a shift towards a more unified and harmonious society, where the law is based on principles of equality and justice rather than religious affiliations.

  • Strengthens National Unity:

The diversity of personal laws in India sometimes creates divisions and conflicts among different religious communities. This can hinder the sense of national unity and solidarity.

A Uniform Civil Code, being applicable to all citizens regardless of their religious backgrounds, fosters a sense of oneness and strengthens national unity.

It reinforces the secular fabric of the country and promotes a shared identity, promoting a sense of belonging and togetherness among all Indians.

  • Simplifies Legal System:

The current system of having different personal laws for different religions can lead to complexity and confusion in the legal system.

Adopting a Uniform Civil Code streamlines the legal framework, making it more accessible and understandable to all citizens.

A single code for personal matters would simplify legal processes, reduce administrative burden, and promote efficiency in the legal system.

  • Reduces Gender Discrimination:

In some personal laws, women may face discriminatory practices that deny them equal rights and opportunities.

A Uniform Civil Code endeavors to eliminate gender-based discrimination by providing a common set of laws that uphold gender equality in all personal matters.

It upholds the principles of social justice and ensures that women are treated fairly and equitably, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

  • Encourages a Developed Nation:

As India aspires to become a developed nation, it must embrace progressive ideals and principles.

Implementing a Uniform Civil Code demonstrates a commitment to modernity and a willingness to let go of outdated and divisive practices.

By adopting a Uniform Civil Code, India can position itself as a progressive and forward-looking country on the world stage.

  • Promotes Social Harmony:

A Uniform Civil Code encourages social harmony by emphasizing commonality over differences.

It reduces divisions based on religious practices and fosters a sense of unity and cohesion among different religious communities.

By promoting a shared set of laws for personal matters, a Uniform Civil Code encourages a more harmonious and integrated society.

  • Upholds the Ideal of Secular Society:

India's aspiration to be a secular society aligns with the concept of a Uniform Civil Code.

Implementing a Uniform Civil Code ensures that personal laws are not governed by religious biases and that every individual is subject to the same civil laws.

It upholds the values of equality, secularism, and justice enshrined in the Indian Constitution

Merits of Bringing UCC:

  • Equality and Fairness: A UCC treats everyone the same, no matter their religion. It promotes real equality and fairness for all citizens by having the same laws for everyone.

  • Women's Rights: UCC can help women by giving them equal rights in marriage, divorce, and inheritance. It gets rid of unfair practices that affect women in some religious laws.

  • Unity in the Country: UCC brings people together by having common laws for all citizens. It reduces divisions based on religion and makes everyone feel like part of one nation.

  • Simpler Laws: UCC simplifies the legal system by having one set of laws for everyone. It avoids confusion caused by different laws for different religions.

  • Modern and Progressive: UCC shows that India is moving forward as a modern nation. It embraces new ideas and principles to become a developed country.

  • Peaceful Society: UCC promotes harmony among people by focusing on what they have in common. It reduces conflicts caused by different personal laws.

Demerits of Bringing UCC:

  • Respecting Religions: Some people worry that UCC might not respect different religious beliefs. They fear it could make some religious practices disappear.

  • Complex Legal Changes: Introducing UCC could be difficult because of various religious practices. It might be challenging to make a law that works for everyone.

  • Political Arguments: UCC can become a controversial topic in politics, with different parties having different views. This can slow down the process of making it a law.

  • Unexpected Problems: UCC might have unintended consequences that negatively affect some communities. We need to be careful to avoid causing harm.

  • Getting Everyone to Follow: Making sure everyone follows UCC could be hard, given the diversity of religious practices in India.

  • Slow Implementation: Bringing UCC might take time because of its complexity and sensitivity. It may need to be done step by step to address concerns properly.

International scenario on uniform civil code

  • Israel, Japan, France, and Russia are strong countries today because they have a strong sense of unity and oneness among their citizens. They have developed and promoted a sense of togetherness, which has contributed to their strength and progress.
  • Almost all countries have a uniform civil code or similar laws, whether they are related to civil matters or criminal matters. This means that the same laws apply to everyone in the country, without any discrimination based on religion.
  • In European nations and the United States, there are secular laws that treat all citizens equally and uniformly, irrespective of their religious beliefs. This promotes fairness and equality among all citizens.

  • Islamic countries, on the other hand, have a uniform law based on Shariah, which applies to all individuals regardless of their religion. This means that everyone, regardless of their faith, is subject to the same legal system.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a crucial step towards promoting equality, justice, and unity in a diverse nation like India. By treating all citizens equally, regardless of their religion, a UCC can empower women, simplify the legal system, and foster a harmonious society. While there may be challenges and debates, learning from the experiences of other nations can help India move forward on this path towards progress and modernity. Embracing a UCC would reaffirm India's commitment to being a secular and inclusive society, ensuring that every citizen enjoys equal rights and opportunities.

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About the Creator

Bhawarth S. Saraswat

I'm an avid bibliophile and aspiring writer who finds joy in reading and writing on diverse topics. passion for sharing knowledge, my dreams of inspiring others through the power of words on a literary journey of creativity and exploration!

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