A uniform civil code is a set of rules that apply to everyone in the country, regardless of religion. It is envisioned as a Directive Principles of State Policy in Article 44 Part IV of the Indian Constitution (DPSP). According to Article 44, the state should strive to implement a common civil code for all Indian citizens. The term “uniform civil code” refers to the replacement of the country’s personal laws, which control matters like maintenance, marriage, adoption, succession, and so on. Personal laws are inconsistent since they are founded on religious conventions and beliefs of many religions.
The UCC aspires to provide consistency to the country by replacing the country’s fragmented laws. UCC, on the other hand, is a DPSP that cannot be enforced in court. During the constituent assembly’s formulation of the constitution in 1946, there were two parties with opposing views on the UCC: one desired to adopt it, while the other, representing the minority community, believed that the application of the UCC would nullify their own laws. As a result, the idea of a single civil code was only mentioned once in the DPSPs.
Does Uniform Civil Code promote gender justice and equality in India?
There is no doubt that personal laws discriminate against women. Despite reforms, practically all religions face extensive legal struggles. However, after the Triple Talaq ruling, this controversy arose. Soon after, female activists began questioning all of the discriminatory practices related with personal laws. The discussion began with a query on Islamic law. It looked at Islamic law’s harsh practices of polygamy, unilateral divorce, and depriving women of support. However, this is not India’s sole case of discriminatory personal legislation.
The father is the principal natural guardian under Hindu law, Section 6 Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act. Women are denied the role of natural guardian as a result of this inclination. It not only reflects patriarchal ideals, but it also goes against the constitution’s fundamental principles. Similarly, gender bias prevails in Christian divorce laws. Adultery can lead to a divorce for men. Women, on the other hand, cannot get a divorce based only on adultery. It must be engaged in acts of bestiality, sodomy, or desertion. Gender bias is present in some provisions of some personal Parsi legislation. When a Parsi woman marries a non-Parsi man, she loses her property rights as well as her religious freedom. A Parsi guy marrying a non-Parsi lady is not the same as marrying a non-Parsi woman. These demands do not cover the whole range of discrimination that personal laws entail. Remember that personal laws are a reflection of one’s community’s beliefs and faith. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Under Article 44 of the Indian constitution, UCC is enshrined as a directive concept. Its goal is to safeguard vulnerable members of society while simultaneously instilling nationalistic pride. Gender equality has always been the key argument in favour of UCC’s implementation. In terms of personal rights, it asserts that UCC will provide equal laws for men and women. This argument is flawed in two ways. First, there is no clear idea of what the UCC should include. Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly lacked a thorough understanding of it. Even the much-heralded Goa UCC, or Portuguese civil process law, does not apply equally to everyone. It has d Under Article 44 of the Indian constitution; UCC is enshrined as a directive concept. Its goal is to safeguard vulnerable members of society while simultaneously instilling nationalistic pride. Gender equality has always been the key argument in favour of UCC’s implementation. In terms of personal rights, it asserts that UCC will provide equal laws for men and women. This argument is flawed in two ways. First, there is no clear idea of what the UCC should include. Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly lacked a thorough understanding of it. Even the much-heralded Goa UCC, or Portuguese civil process law, does not apply equally to everyone. It has different rules for Catholics and other religious communities’ different rules for Catholics and other religious communities.
The second point to consider is that there is no guarantee that UCC will not discriminate. This measure will ultimately be passed by men who possess a majority in both houses. Goa’s UCC, which inspired the argument, is likewise not gender-neutral. For example, it permits Hindu men to marry many times under certain conditions. This includes situations where the lady is unable to conceive a son. Even if we think the UCC will lead to gender equality, there will always be lawbreakers. This includes practices like child marriage and dowry, which are still commonplace behind closed doors. These crimes go unnoticed even when they are reported. As a result, the issue is also with our society and how the law is implemented.
This could be done:
Personal laws are founded on religious sources, yet they are designed to conform to the constitution. Some personal rules are more closely related to religion than others, and they are usually the result of sociopolitical factors. So it’s not just the rules that are at fault; it’s also our collective thinking. This becomes a weapon for political parties to use in order to increase their vote-back. Feminist organizations that previously supported UCC, such as the All India Democratic Women’s Association, withdrew their support. They’ve come up with some better ideas. First, update existing legislation to ensure that a person’s religious freedom is protected. Men and women, for example, can marry at the ages of 21 and 18, respectively. Instead, there should be a standard age for both men and women to marry. The existing custom supports the patriarchal belief that the bride should be a younger woman. Make polygamy in Islam and other religions illegal. On both sides, it was a violation of women’s rights. Second, women should have the option of adhering to UCC or their own personal laws. Finally, a woman’s marriage decisions should not have an impact on her inheritance or religious rights.
UCC is a dream that India has had since its inception. However, it is merely a fantasy with no basis in reality. Until the proposal is reviewed, the argument that UCC will bring gender equality will fall apart. Furthermore, expecting the entire country to support the law in its current form would be naive. India will not be ready for UCC until these challenges are resolved.
1. Rupam, Uniform Civil Code Towards Gender Justice, http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1832/Uniform-Civil-Code-Towards-Gender-Justice.html
2. Sheen Kaul, Is Uniform Civil Code the key to bring Gender Justice, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2527-is-uniform-civil-code-the-key-to-bring-gender-justice-.html
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