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Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Uniform Civil Code to divide people?

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In India, Uniform Civil Code is always debatable, some believe this is need of the hour because in a diverse society like India the laws needed to deal with the disputes related to the issues of marriage, divorce, custody, adoption, inheritance needs to be same for all irrespective of religion, caste or sect. At a time when reforms for strengthening the position of women in the society are being given the utmost significance and attention, there is an urgent need for a new civil code to eliminate discrimination against women in the society. Others believe that in our country, where the principle of equality of all citizens is protected in the constitution, different sets of personal laws for different religious communities go against this very principal of the constitution. Different rules of civil law go against the secular credentials of the democracy and also challenge the concept of unity in diversity. And the concept of the Uniform Civil Code is defined in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, and comes under the Directive Principle of State policy and Article 37 states that the Directive principle of state policy cannot be enforceable by law.

Almost all the countries of the world have a common civil code for all their citizens. The basic idea behind the formulation of a Uniform Civil Code is to end discrimination based on religions. Personal law of nearly all the religions have acted as a tool of oppression of the women through which they are suppressed most of the time citing religious and social obligations. Personal laws have always played a big role in causing the rise of gender discrimination. Uniform Civil Code guaranteed by the constitution has also become a very sensitive and controversial issue that has always been communalized by people having vested interests. BJP government to give justice to Muslim women at large scrapped one of the controversial religious laws, Triple Talaq. They have scrapped article 370 without keeping a chance for debate, under their rule Uniform Civil Code is also possible, but a country like ours needs to go through the pros and cons of it.

A Uniform Civil Code administers the same set of secular civil laws to govern different people belonging to different religions and regions. This does away with the right of citizens to be governed under different personal laws based on their religion or ethnicity. Uniform Civil Code will, in the long run ensure equality.

It is necessary that law is divorced from religion. With the presentation of a uniform code, secularism will be strengthened; much of the present day separation and divisiveness between various religious groups in the country will disappear, and India will emerge as a much more cohesive and integrated nation.

The crusade for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code should get the support of all progressive and right-thinking citizens of the country. It is the need of the hour. There is also a need for a political consensus to implement the Uniform Civil Code.

We have a secular government that says that all humans are equal, which protects the right of the citizens to practice their religion as it may. People will argue that both points are synonymous with each other but there are certain differences. You have personal law boards for religions, which put them in the grey area of constitutional law. Our Constitution has guaranteed that under Article 44, “The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India” and the honourable Supreme Court and its eminent jurists have noted on multiple occasions the need for a civil code applicable to all citizens [Shah Bano, Sarala Mugdal]. Article 44 is one of the many logical, rational, good-intentioned, pious doctrines enshrined in the Constitution, but only enshrined, as in a marble tomb. There have been no laws made by our Governments, rather, they have moved in the opposite direction many times. Why most of the feminist organisations have been pushing for this code to be created and implemented is because most of the Indian personal laws were (and are) patriarchal in nature that promotes the imbalance of powers between the genders. This is a very endemic problem that causes most of the surficial gender related issues that we see today being rampantly discussed by the media.

Indirectly fights vote-bank politics, by creating a unified civil law system that treats citizens the same regardless of religion. Every modern nation has it, and that will achieve the grand vision, which was envisioned at the time of framing our constitution. In Shah Bano Case Supreme Court held that the government should implement the Uniform Civil Code and in Sarla Mudgal case. Supreme Court has also advocated the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code and one of the major problems behind the implementation of Uniform Civil Code is that whether the directive principle of state policy can not supersede over the fundamental right because fundamental right is justifiable right. While Directive principle of state policy cannot be enforceable by a court but the Uniform Civil Code can be enforceable by legislature and according to Article 245 Parliament has the right to frame a law throughout the whole territory of India.

Directive principle of state policy can over ride over the fundamental right if it violates the other fundamental right of any individual for example if any tradition of any religion violates the Article 14, Article 15, Article 21 then these traditions cannot be defended as the name of right to freedom of religion.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the Uniform Civil Code is not against any religion. It is about gender justice, equality which has already been mentioned in our constitution and in the state of Goa there is one common law system irrespective of all religions which consists of 65 per cent Hindus and 25 per cent Christians. So if it can be implemented in Goa then why not whole part of the country. In a nutshell, the Uniform Civil Code is necessary to effect an integration of a country as diversified as India by bringing all the communities into a common platform which do not form the essence of a single particular religion. A Uniform Civil Code will also enforce the idea of secularism enshrined in the Indian constitution more forcefully. Now the problem where it comes is here:-

India is a secular democratic republic, which, by its definition means that one should treat all its citizens the same.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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