Comprehending the UCC by Krishna Sreeja @lexcliq

Introduction:

India is the melting pot of all religions and cultures. Each religion has its own customs and traditions. This makes all religions to follow different kinds of procedures. Sometimes, in implementing these procedures, there may arise inequality among the people. So, to avoid this and to bring uniformity among the customs and code of all religions, there is/ was an attempt made ti implement a provision called “Uniform Civil Code”.

Uniform Civil Code:

Uniform Civil Code is the term which originated from the concept of “Civil Law Code”. It governs the people of different religions; region. So this is basically based upon the right of citizens subject to their personal laws.

The Uniform Civil Code covers the following areas:

  • Personal status of person
  • Rights relating to acquisition and administration of property
  • Marriage, divorce and adoption of child.

ORIGINATION OF THE LAW:

In 1840, the British Government on the basis of Lex Loci report had framed the Uniform laws for crimes, evidences and contracts. But they left the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims intentionally, as involving in this leads to a massive protests. They only raised their voice along with reformers to frame laws regarding religious customs that discriminates women. The main practice of this custom was Sati.

Later, in the Constitution of India, only one line about Uniform Civil Code was added under the Article 44 in Part IV of DPSP (Directive Principles of State Policy). It states that “the state shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India”

IMPLEMENTATION OF UNIFORM CIVIL CODE:

Even though, this law was incorporated in our constitution, it never came into implementation. The implementation of this law is not a simple matter. Most of minority religions/ groups were/ are in a fear that the implementation of this law may violate their personal rights like their religious practices. As earlier mentioned, there are different types of people practicing different different kind of religious practices. So, it is more to codify/ frame the uniform personal laws.

But, the implementation of this law also have many pros. It can end most of social evil practices followed by many religions and gets the uniformity among the people and can put full stop to the discrimination and inequality among the people.

This law is implemented in only  one Indian state i.e., Goa. After Independence, the State of Goa has adopted the Portuguese Civil Code which enforced a Uniform Civil Code for all its citizens. Therefore, Muslim persons who have registered their marriage in Goa are not allowed to practice polygamy.

The communities those who oppose the Uniform Civil Code are Muslims, Christians and others. There are some communities, who are in favour of Uniform Civil Code are Bhartiya Janata Party, Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Those who are the opponents of this law are called “Secularists” and those are in favour of this law are called “Communalists”.

THE SUPREME COURT IN TWO INSTANCES DIRECTED THE PARLIAMENT TO FRAME A UNIFORM CIVIL CODE:

For the first time in 1985, in Mohammad Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano Begum moved to Supreme Court for seeking maintenance under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code, when her husband gave her divorce by giving her triple talaq and denied her regular maintenance. The Supreme Court gave verdict in favour of Shah Bano by applying Sec. 125 of Criminal Procedure Code.  Then Chief Justice, YV Chandrachud, noticed that  common civil code will help the nation in these maters. So, Supreme Court directed parliament to frame the Uniform Civil Code.

The second instance in which the Supreme Court again directed the parliament to frame Uniform Civil Code law is in Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India. In this case, the question is whether a Hindu husband, married under Hindu law , by embracing Islam can solemnize the second marriage. Supreme Court held that adopting Islam for second marriage is an abuse of Personal Laws. Further, it ruled that by converting into Islam and marry again doesn’t dissolve the marriage under Hindu Marriage Law and thus will be an offence under Section 494 & 495 of the Indian Penal Code.

Many Political Parties gave a word to implement the Uniform Civil Code in their manifestos during election campaigns but till  now today there is no sign of implementation of this law.

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