Is uniform civil code needed?

Uniform Civil Code has been a very controversial topic in India concerning its diverse implications and concerning secularism. Article 44 of the Constitution of India states that “State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.”[1] The main objective is to bring uniformity in matters such as marriage, adoption, divorce, inheritance, etc and make them one for all. This debate has survived all these years since Dr. Ambedkar introduced it in the Constituent Assembly. India being a secular democratic republic country should have a common civil law and no personal law should exist for its citizens irrespective of their religion, class, caste, gender etc.

It is generally seen that personal laws of multiple religions are discriminatory in nature towards women. Men have the privilege of upper preferential status in matters of inheritance and succession. Hence, it brings both men and women at par. No citizen is above the law, all are equal in front of the law and thus after the implementation of UCC, there will be the same set of personal laws as well, leaving no room for discrimination or special privileges for a particular community.

There are several obstacles to formulate the same set of laws for all the sections of the society due to cultural diversity. Several communities, particularly minority communities remark Uniform Civil Code as an infringement of their right to freedom of religion. They are under the impression that a common code will neglect their lifelong traditions and enforce rules which will be mainly influenced by the majority religious communities and the scope of freedom of religion will diminish hence, they do not support the implementation of UCC. However, there are several instances which calls for UCC like, Shayara Bano case which became a landmark judgment questioning the constitutional validity of triple talaq, a practice of divorce, for the need of UCC.

Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most of the civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Sale of Goods Act, Civil Procedure Code, Transfer of Property Act, Evidence Act, Partnership Act, etc. However, states have made several amendments hence, in certain matters there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Lately, numerous states rejected to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019. However, this uniformity is not complete thus, there is a need of Uniform Civil Code ensuring legal uniformity in both civil and criminal matters.

UCC mainly aims to protect the vulnerable sections of the society including women and religious minorities, while also promoting nationalistic zeal through unity. The code will simply work to abridge the laws that are fragmented at the moment because of religious beliefs like the Hindu code bill, Shariat law, and others. A single civil law will be applicable to all the citizens in India. It will help to get men and women at par. Bringing uniformity will demand time and immense human resources. The government will have to be careful, sensitive and unbiased at each and every step while dealing with the minority and majority communities. Otherwise, communal violence may be the outcome of it.


[1] Article 44, COI.

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