For past many years the Uniform Civil Code has been a hot topic of discussion. While some people think that the Uniform Civil Code will bring uniformity among all the citizens in India with respect to their personal laws, many think that it can cause disharmony among different communities. In this article we will discuss about Uniform Civil Code in detail.
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC)–
The Uniform Civil Code calls for the unifying/ formulation of all the personal laws in India and make one single law that will be applicable to all the communities of different religions equally. All matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption shall be covered under this one law. The UCC comes under Article 44 of the Constitution, which lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
Origin of Uniform Civil Code-
The origin of the UCC dates back to the British rule in India. The British government submitted its report in 1835 stressing on the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts, specifically stating that all personal laws of Hindus, Muslims and other religions must be kept outside such codification.
Increase in legislations dealing with personal issues in the far end of the British rule forced the government to form the B N Rau Committee to codify Hindu law in 1941. The task of this committee was to examine the question of the necessity of different Hindu laws. After a lot of discussion and recommendations the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 was enacted and codified the laws relating to intestate successions among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.
Uniform Civil Code in Goa-
Goa is the only state in India that has Uniform Civil Code. In Goa all the people of different religions such as Hindu, Muslim, Christians are bound by the same law that covers all matters related to marriage, divorce, succession. When Goa became a Union Territory in 1961, the parliament authorized the Portuguese civil code of 1867 to Goa and shall be amended and repealed by the competent legislature.
What will Uniform Civil Code do?
The main purpose of the Uniform Civil Code is to provide protection to the vulnerable sections of the society by promoting uniformity and equality among all the religions with respect to their personal laws. If enacted, the law will help to simplify the complex laws that are segregated presently on the basis of religions and belief of different communities within every religion.
Importance of Article 44-
The main objective of Article 44 of the Indian Constitution was to eliminate discrimination against different vulnerable groups and bring in harmony among diverse cultural groups across the country. Dr. B R Ambedkar, while formulating the Constitution had said that, “A Uniform Civil Code is desirable but for the moment it should remain voluntary,” and thus the Article 35 of the draft Constitution was added as a part of the Directive Principles of the State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution of India as Article 44. It was incorporated in the Constitution as an aspect that would be fulfilled when the nation would be ready to accept the Uniform Civil Code.
Ambedkar in his speech in the Constituent Assembly had said, “No one need be apprehensive that if the State has the power, the State will immediately proceed to execute…that power in a manner may be found to be objectionable by the Muslims or by the Christians or by any other community. I think it would be a mad government if it did so.”
The Uniform Civil Code in my opinion is much needed in the current scenario where there is so much discrimination between different communities and discrimination that every other day family courts are faced with a number of cases. It has also been seen that there are voluntary as well as forced conversions to other religions as one cannot enjoy some benefits in their own religion that the other religion offers. If the UCC comes into force, it will apply equally to each and every citizen, hence, bringing in uniformity among all citizens and then probably the problem of conversions will also minimize to a great extent.
Written by Yaminee Verma @LEXCLIQ