Written By: Chinmay Khandelwal, 1st year LL.B , School of Law, The Lovely Professional University
Uniform Civil Code is a concept of unification of all the personal laws of all religions across the country. It is described in the directive principle of state policy mentioned under Article 44 of Indian Constitution. The criminal laws in India are uniform and applicable equally on all but in case of Personal Laws which Includes matters like Divorce, Marriage, Adoption, Inheritance etc are different for different religion like Hindu Laws for Hindus, Muslim Laws for Muslims etc that's why there is a talk of implementing UCC in India and implemented in some states like Goa.
In a country like India which has such a huge cultural and religious diversity the implementation of UCC is a tremendous task as it needs ample amount of debate and discussion. Also it needs to be kept in mind while drafting for UCC that any person religious beliefs are not affected by the same.
How Uniform Civil Code is Reality
In modern society the standards of living have increased and the development of thinking of people due to which people become more aware about their fundamental and legal rights and able to differentiate between right or wrong the laws dealing with personal laws, also need to upgrade with changing time and society. Our Indian civilization is one of the oldest civilization in world, many traditions are being changed in this course of time some new are being added some old and irrelevant traditions are being ruled out like sati pratha comes to an end, child marriages are being prohibited but still practiced in some religion as their personal law allowed, triple talaq is banned now, untouchability is being abolished etc. This dynamic character of society is important for its continues development as we now need a Uniform Civil Code to serve justice equally to all despite their religion in personal laws matter in a just, fair, equal manner.
Benefits of Implementing UCC
To promote gender equality: The current system of personal laws in India is discriminatory against women in many ways. For example, Muslim women are not entitled to inherit an equal share of their father's property, and other discriminatory practices.
To promote national integration: The current system of personal laws in India creates a sense of division among citizens, as different religious communities are governed by different laws. The UCC would create a common set of laws for all citizens, which would help to promote national integration and unity.
To promote secularism: The Indian Constitution is a secular document, and the state is obligated to maintain religious neutrality. The UCC would help to ensure that all religions are treated equally under the law, and would help to prevent the state from being influenced by any particular religion.
To simplify the legal system: The current system of personal laws in India is complex and confusing. The UCC would simplify the legal system by consolidating and harmonizing various laws into a single code. This would make it easier for citizens to understand and comply with the law, and would also reduce the burden on the judiciary.
Women empowerment: Indian society is often being criticized on the basis that it thinks of women only capable to household works but they are also as capable as a male and implementation of UCC will help to overcome this mentality of people.
How it is used as a Political Agenda
The Uniform Civil Code is a contentious issue and often used by political parties in their election manifesto to mobilize supporters in their favor. There are number of incidents where political parties used it as election manifesto just like Ram Mandir case, which only used to gather votes. It was done by all the parties whether in Lok Sabha elections or in state assemblies elections.
Here are some specific ways in which the UCC is used as a political agenda:
Political parties use the UCC to mobilize their supporters. For example, one party uses the UCC to appeal to its Hindu base, while the other uses the UCC to appeal to its minority base. Their are various example of UCC being used as manifesto Lok Sabha election in this election one party promised to implement UCC if they form government and gathers a lot of votes on that basis but today it is 2023 and 2024 Lok Sabha elections are on corners but their are no sign of even discussing about the same.Also during time of done the same. One party has continued to use the UCC as a political agenda since two decades or more.
Political parties use the UCC to score political points against their rivals.
Political parties use the UCC to deflect attention from other issues. For example, when the government is facing criticism on issues such as the economy or unemployment, it may raise the issue of the UCC to divert attention from these issues. For example in recent state Assemblies election the ruling parties whether any shifted the focus on UCC to hide their failures and unable to fulfill promises done by them.
Difficulty In implementation
There are a number of challenges in imposing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India. Some of the key challenges include:
Opposition from minority communities: The UCC is likely to face opposition from minority communities, who fear that it would infringe on their religious freedom. For example, Muslims may oppose the UCC because it would ban triple talaq, which is a form of instant divorce practiced by some Muslims.
Lack of consensus: There is no consensus within the government or among the public on the need for the UCC. Some people believe that the UCC is necessary to promote gender equality and national integration, while others believe that the current system of personal laws is adequate.
Complexity of the task: Formulating and implementing the UCC would be a complex and challenging task. This is because India is a diverse country with many different religions and cultures. It would be difficult to draft a UCC that is acceptable to all communities.
Practical difficulties: There are a number of practical difficulties that would need to be addressed in implementing the UCC. For example, it would be difficult to train judges and lawyers to apply the UCC, and it would be costly to set up new courts to deal with UCC cases and it needs a huge number of trained IAS ranked officers for its implementation.
Despite these challenges, implementation of UCC seems necessary to the developing Indian society and it believes that the UCC is necessary to promote gender equality, a sense of national integration, and secularism, also it will reduce the burden on judiciary and justice will be served to all without seeing their religion. The UCC is a complex and controversial issue, and there is no clear consensus on whether or not it should be implemented. The government has not yet announced any plans to implement the UCC, but it is likely to remain a contentious issue in Indian politics for the foreseeable future