A set of three words-Uniform Civil Code, here, Uniform refers ‘not varying or the same in all cases’, Civil refers ‘connected with the people who live in a country’ and code refers ‘a systematic statement of law or a set of law’. Thus this denotes that civil rules should be equal for all the people irrespective of their religion.
It refers to the formulation and implementation of such personal laws of citizens that apply to all citizens equally regardless of their religion. At present, personal laws of different communities are different and it is governed according to their religious text and scriptures. There are multiple family laws in India and they have their own personal laws like the Hindus have their Hindu law(Hindu Marriage Act,1955), Muslims have their Muslims law, Christians have their Christian Marriage Act,1872, the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, the Jews have their uncodified customary marriage law, Parsis have their own Parsi marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 and there are other law.
Article 44 of the Constitution of India expects the Indian state to apply directive principles and common law for all Indian citizens while formulating national policies, meanwhile Article 25 to 28 of Indian Constitution states religious freedom to Indian citizens and allows religious groups to maintain their own affairs.
Practices such as triple talaq and polygamy impact adversely on the right of women to their life and dignity. Uniform CivilCode emerged as a crucial topic of interest after the Shah Bano case in 1985. The debate arose when the question of making certain laws applicable to all citizens rose. These laws should be without abridging the fundamental right of right to practice religious functions. After that debate focused on the Muslim Personal Law, which is partially based on the Sharia law which permits unilateral divorce, polygamy. Formulation of Uniform Civil Code faces opposition primarily from Muslims, Indian left and conservative section of Hindus as a threat to religious freedom.
UCC would ensure national unity and integrity, to put an end to gender discrimination and also to strengthen the secular fabric. It is also to be noted that in political and social scenario, the liberal sections of the society are demanding UCC to be put into effect which would govern individuals across all religions, caste and tribe and to protect their fundamental and constitutional rights as granted by the Constitution of India.
Goa Civil Code
Goa is the only Indian state to have a UCC in the form of common family law. The Portuguese Civil Code that remains in force even today was introduced in the 19th century in Goa and wasn’t replaced after its liberation.
- The Uniform Civil Code in Goa is a progressive law that allows equal division of income and property between husband and wife and also between children (regardless of gender).
- Every birth, marriage and death have to be compulsorily registered. For divorce, there are several provisions.
- Muslims who have their marriages registered in Goa cannot practice polygamy or divorce through triple talaq.
- During the course of a marriage, all the property and wealth owned or acquired by each spouse is commonly held by the couple.
- Each spouse in case of divorce is entitled to half of the property and in case of death, the ownership of the property is halved for the surviving member.
- The parents cannot disinherit their children entirely. At least half of their property has to be passed on to the children. This inherited property must be shared equally among the children.
However, the code has certain drawbacks and is not strictly a uniform code. For example, Hindu men have the right to bigamy under specific circumstances mentioned in Codes of Usages and Customs of Gentile Hindus of Goa (if the wife fails to deliver a child by the age of 25, or if she fails to deliver a male child by the age of 30). For other communities, the law prohibits polygamy.
With several arguments for and against, the UCC will make sure that women receive more rights, the concept of secularism will cease to be a mere idea. Constitution will be able to implement it for each individual residing in the country. The UCC should be implemented as soon as possible.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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