Written by : Aditya Kumar, 1st year LL.B , School of law , Lovely Professional University.
Uniform Civil Code resonates with one country, one rule, to be applied to all religious communities. In a diverse and pluralistic society like India, the concept of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has been a highly debated and politically charged issue within the country. The term, ‘Uniform Civil Code’ is explicitly mentioned in Part 4, Article 44 of the Indian Constitution. Article 44 says, “The state shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” However, Article 37 states that directive principles are guiding principles for government policies and are not enforceable by courts. UCC basic concept is a set of laws that govern personal matters, including marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession for all citizens regardless of their religion. It is based on the premise that there is no connection between religion and law in modern civilization.
A UCC is essential for adapting to the changing social dynamics and evolving values in a modern society. It would eliminate the practices that are against the human rights and values enshrined in the Constitution of India, such as triple talaq, polygamy, child marriage. UCC would align these laws with the present and future needs of the people. UCC ensures equal treatment under the law for all citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs or community. Many personal laws in India are inherently biased against women. UCC can help bridge the gaps and tensions caused by varying personal laws across different communities. It encourages social harmony by reducing conflicts and disputes arising from these differences.
As we all know, one of the core principles of the Indian Constitution is secularism. UCC would uphold this principle by treating all religions equally under the law. It would prevent religious practices from influencing civil matters and allow individuals the freedom to choose their personal laws based on their convictions, rather than birth. Secularism is closely linked to the concept of individual freedom and choice. UCC would empower individuals to choose their personal laws based on their beliefs, rather than being bound by their particular religious community. It would establish a secular legal framework that is not influenced by religious practices, promoting the ideal of a religiously neutral state. The existence of separate personal laws based on religion can create divisions within society, where individuals are not seen as common citizens but as members of different religious communities. UCC would promote a sense of common citizenship by providing a uniform legal framework for all, irrespective of their religious affiliations.
Challenges and Concerns:
While a UCC has its merits, it is not without challenges and concerns. India is a country of diverse religions, cultures and traditions. Each community has its own set of personal laws and customs that govern their civil matters. These laws are practiced very widely across regions, sects and groups. To find common ground and uniformity among such diversity is very difficult and complex. Moreover, many personal laws are not codified or documented, but are based on oral or written sources that are often ambiguous or contradictory. Striking the right balance between preserving cultural diversity and implementing a uniform code is a challenge that needs careful consideration.
In the pursuit of creating a secular and modern society, the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code holds significant promise. It would promote equality, uphold the principles of secularism, and enable the country to adapt to changing times. However, the path to a UCC is not without obstacles, and requires thoughtful deliberation to address the concerns of various communities.
As India navigates its way through these complexities, it is essential to remember that the adoption of a UCC should be a collective and inclusive endeavor, reflecting the values of a democratic and diverse nation. Achieving a secular and modern society through a Uniform Civil Code is a journey that requires careful consideration, open dialogue, and the collective commitment of all the citizens.