What is Uniform Civil Code?

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What is Uniform Civil Code?
19 Jul 2020

Article 44 of the Constitution of India requires the state to provide for a Uniform Civil Code for all its citizens. Before learning the objectives, advantages and disadvantages of this term, you need to know what does Uniform Civil Code means.

In India, we have Personal Laws such as- Hindu Personal Law and Muslim personal Law which govern upon certain subjects like- Marriage, Divorce, Adoption, Inheritance and Maintenance.

Therefore, these subjects are decided differently according to the personal laws of the concerned religion.

Now, Uniform Civil Code is nothing but a single law which will govern upon these subjects equally, on every person, irrespective of their religion. It means, it doesn’t matter that which religion you belong to, if you have UCC in your country, your marriage or divorce cases will be decided according to the same law.

A lot of people have demanded this code over the past few years in the country, however there is no such code present in the country now. However, the state of Goa has its own Uniform Civil Code “The Goa Family Law or The Portuguese Civil Code”. The state doesn’t allow polygamy to Muslim people within the state as per the code.

Aim of Uniform Civil Code

UCC has been demanded by many people time to time. Most of them are those people who have been harmed by their personal laws or who have been denied protection under their personal laws or whose issues are not certain as to which personal law should apply. Some basic objectives, this code is expected to achieve are as follows-

  1. Uniformity in Laws - When we look at the legal framework of the country, we see that crimes are governed by same criminal laws, contracts are governed by the Contract Act and the Constitution for everyone in the country remains same. Now the question arises that why should not there be uniformity in personal matters too. India is a secular country, but the religious influences and matters of state such as laws should be kept apart. The Uniform Civil Code aims to bring this uniformity in the legal framework of the country.
  2. To Avoid Injustice- There are some incidences such as “Sara Mudgal’s Case” and “Shayra Bano’s Case” where the variety of personal laws has led to injustice to petitioners. When we bring UCC, we prohibit this injustice and give similar justice to all.
  3. National Harmony- Different Personal Laws bring differences between the persons of different communities. It makes them feel unequal in respect of each other. Uniform Civil Code brings harmony among these people and promotes brotherhood.

Pros & Cons of Uniform Civil Code

The concept of Uniform Civil Code has been a matter of debate for many years. As everything, this concept too has pros & cons.

Pros-

  • Equal Status of Everyone- India being a Secular and Democratic Republic strives to promote equality in every citizen living here. The UCC provides for that equality in the personal matters of different persons belonging to different religions. No one feels that the others are getting due advantage of their personal laws in any matter.
  • Integrate the Country- As per the article 14 of the Constitution of India; every person is equal before the law. The criminal laws and civil laws are similar for every person. However, this idea of equality lags behind when it comes to personal matters. With the implementation of Uniform Civil Code this equality spreads upon each and ev3ery aspect. Even in the matters of Marriage, Divorce and Maintenance etc. no one shall be treated differently.
  • Ensuring Secularism- when we talk about differences in personal laws based on religions, it shows the opposite status of Secularism. The idea to be a secular country is to ensure that no religion is given importance in the matters of state, and legislations are matters of state too. With the coming of UCC this opposite idea vanishes and there remains a true form of Secularism.

Cons-

  • Difficulty of Implementation- India is a land of diversity as all know. The country has a number of religions which practice things that are totally different from each other. The culture is varied too. If a Uniform Civil Code is implemented, it would be difficult to tie all the religions in the same knot. It is practically not possible to tell every religion that they have to function their personal activities in the same manner.
  • Controversial Concept- India has seen revolution in everything, which was supposed to undergo a drastic change. UCC is also one of these drastic changes that will generate chaos in the public, because the people would see this change as an attack on their religious freedom. People will be frightened after knowing that they will have to change their way of doing certain things, which are happening since ages, in the traditional manner.
  • Tension between communities- When the UCC will be implemented; it is a question of debate, that what provisions would be included in the code and from which religion those provisions would be taken? Because the dominance of one community over another community in this code would promote tension between those communities.

Critical Analysis

No matter what we say in political debates or what we dream of, reality is always different from both of them. The path of a Uniform Civil Code is no easy, when it comes to a country like India. The very first thing is the religious freedom, which has been given to various religions in India.

Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of Practice, Profess and Propagate the religion to every citizen. Now, when we think about UCC, we sort of snatch this freedom out of their hands, because they will no longer be able to practice their religious norms in the matters of Marriage, Divorce, and Adoption etc.

Moving further we see Article 26, which apparently guarantees that every religious section shall have the right to manage their own religious affairs. A Uniform Civil Code encroaches upon freedom too.

And finally, we have Article 29 which says that every religious minority shall have the right to conserve their culture. When we declare their personal laws which are governed by their religious script as void, we somehow deny them the freedom to conserve the same.

Apart from all these Constitutional Provisions, implementing a Uniform Civil Code in a county like India is very crucial and difficult task. Because the religious sentiments and traditional approach of people prohibits them to accept such concept. They’ll always see this concept as an encroachment upon their religion. And after all these issues, lack of political will in introducing such dynamic concept has been the biggest barrier.

Conclusion

After all is said and done, what we conclude is that, Uniform Civil Code cannot be implemented in a day. The concept is very dynamic and requires the support of both government and the citizens. We have to implement such uniform polices similar to this concept gradually. Once the country is ready for such evolution, then only we can implement UCC. Uniformity lies in the Harmony of people, so to implement this uniformity we need to ensure the harmony among the groups and religions.