Uniform civil code


In the present era, the implementation of the uniform civil code is one of the most controversial issues which have been witnessed by the country. The Muslims are opposing the implementation of the uniform civil code to a large extent. However, there is a lot of Muslims women groups who are supporting the implementation of the uniform civil code. With the coming of the uniform civil code, the Muslims personal law would undergo a drastic change. Here are some of the things prevalent among Indian Muslims due to the personal law that would change with the implementation of the Uniform civil code. A proposal to replace the personal laws of each major religious community in India with a common set governing every citizen, mentioned in article 44 of the directive principles, demanded by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru the same set of secular civil laws to govern all people.

Views of Muslim members in the constituent assembly:

Some members sought to immunize Muslim personal law from state regulation. Mohammed Ismail, who thrice tried unsuccessfully to get Muslim personal law exempted from article 44, said a secular state should not interfere with the personal law of people.

B Pocker sahib said he had received representations against a common civil code from various organizations including Hindu organizations. Hussain Iman questioned whether there could ever be uniformity of personal laws in a diversity country like India.

Dr. B.R Ambedkar said” no government can use its provisions in a way that would force the Muslims to revolt.”

Alladi Krishna swami who was in favor of a Uniform civil code, conceded that it would be unwise to enact Uniform civil code ignoring strong opposition from any community. Gender justice was not mentioned in these debates.

Need for uniform civil code:

1. To provide justice and equality to the people of all religious and sects.

2. Child marriages accepted in all religious communities.

3. Enact rules for compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of religion.

4. Muslim law does not provide maintenance for the wife. The mehr amount is supposed to take care of this aspect.

5. To control polygamy.

6. Contradiction in constitution – it recognizes the continued existence of personal law and also guarantee equal rights.

Impact of uniform civil code:

• The Triple Talaq: With the introduction of the uniform civil code, the practice of the triple talaq would be abolished; the dissolution of every marriage would take place through court proceedings. The petition for separation filed in the court would deter Muslim men and women from remarriage as a second marriage is socially considered to be a taboo in India. The abolition of this practice of triple talaq would affect the Muslim personal law significally and hence the opposition by the Muslim against the implementation of the uniform civil code.

• Abolition of polygamy: Polygamy is a very wide spread practice under Muslim law. Many celebrities have converted to Islam in India to marry more than one woman. Abolition of such a practice would be a positive betterment to society. Women being exploited and abused by the husband is one of the major drawbacks of this practice. However, it has been stated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee that coming up imposes Hindu law on any religion. On the contrary, the uniform civil code would contain the essentials of all the religious.

•Maintenance: The impact of the uniform civil co0de would lead to a positive influence on the Muslim personal law. It would allow the Muslim women to claim maintenance for her lifetime. However, this issue is facing opposition and uproar by the Muslims on the ground that it would affect their personal law.

•Adoption: The guardianship and ward Act, 1890 been abolished. This would lead to major changes in the laws of adoption, such as:

1. A Muslim would be allowed to take a child in adoption.

2. The couples can legally claim the status to be the adoptive parents of the Childs who is being adoption by them.

3. On adoption, the child is entitled to all the rights given to the natural person.

• Registration of marriage compulsory: The implementation of the uniform civil code, it would be an obligation for the parties to the marriage to get their marriage registered in the register. This would further facilitate the authenticity of the wedding and would act as a shred of evidence for the solemnization, of marriage between the parties.

•Abolition of practice of iddat: Iddat under Muslim law is a practice which is being performed by the Muslim women as a result of divorce from her husband. A uniform civil code for governing the civil laws would automatically lead to the abolition of the practice of iddat.

Case laws:

Shah Bano case, 1985

Shah Bano went to court asking maintenance from her husband who has divorced her. The court ruled in her favor, orthodoxy deemed the verdict an attack on Islam. Muslim women protection of rights on divorce act, 1986 enacted. Gave Muslim woman the right to maintenance for the period of iddat (three months) after divorce.

Shayara Bano V. union of India

In this case the apex court held the practice of triple talq as unconstitutional and un- Islamic. The question of the uniform civil code to stop such personal law practice was again raised.


A common civil code, to govern personal matters of all citizens irrespective of religious is the need of the hour. A committee of eminent jurists should be considered to maintain uniformity. Care must be taken not to hurt the sentiments of any particular community. Practice like triple talaq, polygamy and nikal halala need to be banned. The government must prepare a good environment form uniform civil code by explaining the contents and significance of article 44. The press, radio, television and various other means of communication must help. Conservative sections of the citizens must be made to understand the utility of uniformity of laws. Education, awareness program must be taken up.

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