In News: Law Minister tells Rajya Sabha that the government does not propose to set up a committee to implement a uniform civil code (UCC).
- Minister clarified that government has requested the Law Commission of India to undertake examination of various issues relating to uniform civil code and to make recommendation thereon.
Uniform Civil Code
- The UCC refers to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession for all citizens, irrespective of religion.
Constitutional provisions suggesting UCC:
- Article 44: The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
- This is in the chapter dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy and is therefore presumed to be advisory in nature.
Arguments for UCC
Uniformity and reduced discord:
- Common Code would enable uniform civil principles to be applied to the entire Nation.
- If and when the whole population will start following the same laws, chances are there that it would bring more peace to the living and reduce riots.
Secularism and Women’s Rights:
- UCC would help end gender discrimination and overall discrimination on religious grounds and strengthen the secular fabric of the nation.
- Therefore UCC could bring all communities together to ensure Women the Right to a dignified life and control over their life as well as body.
- Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.
Ending unjust customs and traditions:
- A rational common and unified personal law will help eradicate many evil, unjust and irrational customs and traditions prevalent across the communities.
- For instance, Manual scavenging – It might have been a custom in the past but in a mature democracy like India, this custom cannot be justified.
Ease of Administration:
- UCC would make it easy to administer the huge population base of India.
Arguments against UCC
Hampering diversity and multiculturalism:
- Indian society has a unique identity in the form of its being diverse and multicultural, and unified law might do away with these unique characteristics of this nation.
Violation of fundamental rights:
- Religious bodies oppose a uniform civil code on the ground that it would be interference in religious affairs which would violate fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the constitution.
May lead to communal unrest:
- It would be a tyranny to the minority and when implemented could bring a lot of unrest in the country
- The All India Muslim Personal Law Board stated that the laws pertaining to marriage and inheritance were part of religious injunctions for ages.
- Gradual changes –
- A uniform law, although highly desirable but may be counterproductive to the unity and integrity of the nation especially if applied hastily.
- In a democracy and rule of law, a gradual progressive change and order must be brought about.
- Codification of all personal laws as suggested by the Law Commission
- By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritize equity rather than the imposition of a Uniform Civil Code.
- To resolve the contentious issues like UCC, common consensus of all the stakeholders is needed.
Source: The Hindu