UNIFORM CIVIL CODE
The only state in India which has a standard civil code for matters relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance and even adoption is Goa which has adopted the Goa civil code in the year 1962 when Goa was made a part of the union territory in 1961 by the Goa Daman and Diu administration act 1962, by this act the matters related to marriages, divorce and adoption etc in the state are governed by the act for all the citizens irrespective of their religion which makes it very convenient for governing matters of the same in the state. Now the question which comes in the mind after hearing about all this is that what is “uniform civil code”? and what is its scope if at all it is applied to the whole of India ? and importantly is there any legal backing which enables a government to impose the uniform civil code and if at all there is a legal backing why is it that after 73 years of independence we are still thinking about it rather than it being in force. In this article, we’ll deal with all the above questions in detail and try to get to a conclusion to the most debatable topic in the recent times “whether or not uniform civil code should be imposed on the whole of India”.
Definition and legal aspects :
The uniform civil code means a set of laws which governs all the civil matters relating to marriage, divorce, adoption and inheritance, article 44 of the constitution which is one of the DPSP (Directive Principles of State Policy) which lays down that the state shall try to achieve the goal of providing to its citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. Now the next argument which comes to our mind is that the DPSP’s are not enforceable by law this is laid down in article 37 of the Indian constitution which defines the directive principles of state policy ie. One cannot move to the court for seeking the implementation of UCC (Uniform Civil Code), but this doesn't mean that the court doesn't have a right to advise the government on issues and the same was exercised and the need of the UCC gained popularity after the landmark judgment of the Shah Bano case, Shah Bano moved to the supreme court seeking maintenance from her husband after 40 years of marriage by giving her triple talaq and denied her regular maintenance, the supreme court observed that “There is no evidence of any official activity for framing a common civil code for the country. A common Civil Code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies.” after the judgment to this case came and when the government made instant triple talaq a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment the people of India felt a very urgent need of uniform civil code but along with people of this kind there were also people who felt that government should not interfere with matters which are governed by their personal laws as it is a religious matter and gave the argument of the Indian constitution, which guarantees equality before law irrespective of religion, sex, race, etc, so having personal laws on the basis of religion is just an example of constitutional lapse.
Whether UCC should be implemented or not?
It is very ironical that India being a secular country which talks about no state no religion has laws based and divided on the basis of religion, for matters which are very important for the society including marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, etc and this also makes it very difficult for the judicial offices to deliver justice, having a uniform civil code will make it easier for the judiciary as well as suffice the basic sense of the preamble of the constitution. Now the second question is if it is so important to have a uniform civil code in the country then why do we still lack it? what stopped the previous governments from giving the country the goal which is even talked about in the constitution itself which should be the goal which each government should have dreamed to achieve but they didn’t?
The answer to all the questions lies in a basic argument that when have you yourself seen a person trying to fight against a specific religion, what we get in return is cities getting burned down and people getting slaughtered on the name of religion, religion is the most powerful and the also the biggest market for corrupt and criminal people which they use with the help of people who follow them blindly and then use this religion to spread hate in the society, and each of the government did not do anything about this topic just because of the fear of same, as it is true that the day any government imposes UCC that political party will have to face a backlash by some sections of the society, and which may also mean that the party may not stand a chance to win the elections again. But soon after the present government got into power in 2014 it has consecutively completed all the things it has had in its election manifesto, be it Citizenship Amendment Act , scrapping of article 370 or the construction of Ram mandir, etc and now according to various sources the next thing on the logbook of the government is the implementation of Uniform Civil Code , but it is again backed by 2 different thoughts that should it be imposed directly or should it be done by some other way.
According to various experienced people in the legal field, it should be directly forced on the country rather the judiciary should first try and figure out the various loop holes or one can say the bad practices which are permitted in personal laws but infringe fundamental rights or legal rights and once this process is done till a satisfactory level then the government should apply the UCC otherwise all it is going to create is riots as people who have huge followers will manipulate people and try to portray the UCC is a way to end their religion and a step made by the government which endangers their religion, and then the people who are going to suffer, is the same common people who have nothing to do with it.
The ideal plan of UCC is as mentioned in the article 44 of the Indian constitution which is and should be an approach which should be made by all the governments, the law is something which should be same for all or else it just defeats the whole hidden meaning or one can say the true sense of the constitution of India, in the present case scenario the recent judgments by the Honorable Supreme Court including the one which gave females equal right in the property by modifying the old judgment for the Hindu law for an inheritance , or be it the terming the instant triple talaq a criminal offence the court is also trying to clear out the loopholes present in the personal laws which are in one way or the other making it a pathway for the central government to impose the uniform civil code (UCC) on the whole of the country.