In almost all the countries there is one civil code for all the citizens. The basic Ideology behind the formulation of a civil code is to end discrimination based on religion. It is a cruel fact that women are the worst victims of discrimination under personal laws. Gender discrimination persists despite the constitutional prohibition.
Article 44 of the Constitution says that the State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform Civil code, throughout the territory of India, yet it has continue to be a highly controversial issue and always politicized and communalized by the vested interests. The implications of UCC are : Protection to Vulnerable Section of Society, Simplification of Laws, Adhering to Ideal of Secularism and Gender equality.
Since independence, we have been debating on the necessity of application again of Uniform Civil Code for all the citizens, but even after 55 years, we have this paradoxical situation to continue, where Indian citizens are discriminated on the basis of gender and religion.
Goa is the only Indian State to have a Uniform Civil Code. The Goa Civil Code is a uniform civil law for the residents of Goa. Goa Civil Code provides that marriage is a civil contract, Equal property rights for both sons and daughters, Parents are not entitled to disinherit their children entirely i.e, Half of the property is the minimum requirement that is to be passed on to the children etc.
In Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, A petition was filed in the Supreme Court for seeking maintenance under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, when her husband divorced her after 40 years of marriage by giving triple talaq and denied her regular maintenance. The Supreme Court gave the verdict in favor of Shah Bano by applying section 125 of the Indian Criminal Code and it is applied to all citizens irrespective of religion. Then Chief Justice, Y.V Chandrachud, observed that a Common Civil Code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law. And so, the court directed Parliament to frame a UCC.
Undoubtedly there is need to give legislative effect to the constitutional mandate set out in Article 44, but this sensitive task be carried out with due preparation. The perpetrators of communal aggression, intimidation and blackmail must be reined with due strictness of provisions. An all out effort to reassure the minority communities that their Human and Constitutional Rights will be protected at all cost needs to be made.
It is the sacred duty of the State that every citizen must get equal protection of law and every women, be she a Hindu, Muslim or Christian, feels that she is equal to man in all matters, pertaining to marriage, divorce, succession, inheritance and other matters of secular importance. It is the need of the hour, that we must have an open debate by all concerned political parties, religious leaders, so that we have one common civil law for all. The debate must be free from political bias.
No faith, no religion, can allow the discrimination based on gender. No secular State should allow the discrimination based on religion, community, gender. When our Constitution guarantees the equality, then allowing discrimination against the women, is totally unlawful and unconstitutional. The time is ripe that all the political and religious leaders should come together, for the well-being of all the people, to come to consensus for adopting the Uniform Civil Code for all the citizens of our great Nation.
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