Uniform civil code
UNIFORM CIVIL CODE INTRODUCTION- We all are living in a country which is secular. People from different caste/class/ religion etc live here together. Its seems a small thing but in reality to run such country is really a very difficult task. Here maintenance of law and order is also very difficult to manage. Courts have to take care of every single thing so that they can maintain peace in the society. We can take example of our own country; here we have so many laws for marriage like Hindu marriage act for Hindus, Muslim marriage act for Muslims and special marriage act. This is because of personal laws of different religion are different and these laws are as per their personal laws, so that they does not hurt the sentiments of any citizen. But sometimes it really becomes hard to maintain this harmony in the society. This is the reason many times in history Supreme Court itself demanded uniform civil code for whole India. At present Goa is the only state which has uniform civil code. As per our Indian constitution’s article-44, “the state shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. This article comes under part 4 of our constitution, which is talking about the Directive Principle of State policy. Means it is a DPSP. But it will be implemented only when it is accepted voluntarily. Secondly there is one more article which is article- 35. It says that power to make the laws, to give effect to the certain specified fundamental rights shall vest only in the parliament, not in the state legislature. This may be a reason due to which uniform civil code is not in whole India. BJP was the first party to promise implement of uniform civil code if it comes to power and the issue was part of 2019 Lok Sabha manifesto. WHAT IS UNIFORM CIVIL CODE? Uniform civil code means one law which is same for all religious communities and above personal laws. Personal laws mean laws which are according to the religious books of different communities or as per their faiths and they are vary from religion to religion. Personal laws of Hindus cover family property, maintenance, guardianship, charitable donations, inheritance, succession, marriage, adoption, co-operating obligation of sons to pay father’s dept, partition of family property etc and Muslims cover legacies, wakfs, dowry, divorce, gifts, pre-emption , marriage, guardianship, succession etc. in short we can say , one country one rule. Criminal laws are already same for all the citizens of India but when it comes to civil laws situation is different. ORIGIN OF UNIFORM CIVIL CODE- In 1840, British government submitted a report lex locus to frame the uniform laws for contract/ evidence/ crime and intentionally left Hindu/Muslim personal laws. Constituent assembly was set up in 1946 to frame constitution for independent India. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who was in favor of uniformity of laws put article 44 in the constitution which was talking about uniform civil code. Some people are in favor of this article and some are opposing it that is the reason this article is not implemented in India. This can be implemented only voluntarily. There was many cases in history when supreme court asked Indian parliament to implement uniform civil code in India. Some of them are given below- 1. Mohammad Ahmed khan v/s Shah Bano Begam- This case is famously known as Shah Bano Case. In 1985 this woman went to court asked for the maintenance under section 125 of the code of criminal procedure. This was a Muslim woman who got divorced after 40 years of her marriage by tripal talaq. In the end, judgment was in her favor. Tripal talaq comes under Muslim personal law while she get maintenance under code of criminal procedure . Her marriage was came under Muslim personal law therefore to get maintenance under code of criminal procedure may be not right according to law. That’s why Justice Chandrachud (who was one of the judge in this case) observed that a common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to the law and court directed first time to the parliament to frame such law. But Rajiv Gandhi government was not satisfied from court decision and enacted Muslim women (protection of rights on divorce ) act in 1886 to nullify supreme court’s decision . This led Muslim personal laws prevails in divorce matter. 2. Sarla mudgal case- This case is the second instance when Supreme Court again directed parliament to frame uniform law. In this case a man who was married, want to marry again by converting himself to Islam. But Supreme Court said adopting Islam for second marriage is an abuse of personal laws and said such marriage is an offence under section 494(5) of Indian penal code. 3. John vallamatton v/s union of India- In this case a priest from Kerala ,filed public interest litigation (PIL) in 1997 according to which section 118 of Indian succession Act was discriminatory against Christians as it imposes unreasonable restrictions on the donation of property for religion or charitable purpose by will. Chief justice VV khare , justice S.B. sinha , A.R. Lakshamanan were the main judges in this case. Justice khare said , “ Article 44 provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for all citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India. It is a matter of great regrets that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in for framing a common civil code in the country. A Common Civil Code will help the cause of national integration by removing the contradictions based on ideologies”.
4. Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act- This act seems like an attempt onwards uniform civil code because it allowed adoption of child by Muslim community, even though not allowed in their personal laws. After this Supreme Court again asked central government to form uniform civil code. Above are some instances when supreme court asked parliament to make laws related to article 44 but it was of no use because nothing is changed after this demand of supreme court as well. Due to all this in 1941 B.N. Rau committee had been formed to codify the Hindu laws. This committee submitted report to another committee led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar that comes for discussion in 1951. While all this discussion is continued the Hindu code bill lapsed and was resubmitted in 1952. Then the bill was adopted in 1956 as Hindu succession Act. The act reformed the Hindu personal laws and gave women greater property rights means equal rights as men. Now son and daughter became equally eligible to inherit the father’s property. This act had abolished bigamy and polygamy as well. Hindu code bill is applicable on Buddhist, Sikhs and jain as well. This consist of Hindu marriage act, Hindu succession act etc. Relevance of uniform civil code with article 25- Article 44 and Article 25 are related to each other. Article 25 talks about freedom of religion which means anyone can profess, propagate or practice any religion as per their choice. That is the reason article 44 can not be imposed forcefully on the citizens. Otherwise it will violate the article 25. How Goa is different from other state- After independence state of Goa has adopted the Portuguese civil code which enforced a uniform civil code for all its citizens. Some differences are given below- a. Married couple holds joint ownership in all assets owned. b. Parents cannot disinherit their children entirely; at least half of the property must be passed on to them. c. Muslim person who have registered their marriage in Goa are not allowed to practice polygamy. As every single thing has its pros as well as cons , this article 44 also have its pros and cons. let us discuss them one by one. Pros- 1. Equal rights for women with men. 2. Protection for the vulnerable section of the society. 3. Promote unity and nationalistic fervor among the citizens. 4. Discrimination against women will decrease. 5. It also helps in achieving gender equality. 6. Its main aim is to consider all the citizens equal before law Cons- 1. It will decrease the scope of article 25 which is about freedom of religion. 2. Minority’s right to religion may hurt. 3. May hurt the religious sentiments of so many people. 4. In a secular country like India implementation of this law may increase various crimes like riots. 5. Needs so many changes in the constitution of India. 6. This may create chaos in the society. Point to be noted about uniform civil code that is article 44 of the constitution of India- 1. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was in the favor of this article. 2. Goa is the only state which has uniform civil code. 3. Criminal law is already uniform; this change is required in civil laws. 4. Article 44 may violate article 25 if implemented. 5. Article 44 is against the personal laws. CONCLUSION-
Uniform civil code which comes under article 44 of our constitution is a very good solution to decrease discrimination against women, spread equality in the society. This is like one country one rule, which according to my perception is a very good idea. It will not only decrease the work load of courts but also help in delivering right decisions. There were many situations in history of supreme court when court proposed parliament to implement uniform civil court in India. Even in 2019 lok sabha election BJP promised that if they came in power they will implement uniform civil court in India. There are many advantages of this article 44 of our constitution but we cannot ignore its disadvantages which are already mentioned above. It can be implement only voluntarily. If it will implement forcefully it is the violation of article 25 that is freedom of religion. Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, Mahatama Gandhi and many more such leaders are in favor of this article of the constitution but there were such people as well who are opposing it. That is one of the reasons behind not implementation of article 44. There is only one state in India where this article 44 is implemented that is Goa.
Personal laws of different religion are different so as law. If article 44 will implement these personal laws will not be as important as they are, which in my opinion is all right. We are a secular country which runs through constitution. Therefore no religious text should be above this book. Different religious text suggest different personal laws such as in Hindu’s bigamy and polygamy is crime while in Muslim law this is allowed. In Muslim gift deeds is text free while in Hindus it’s not .Sometimes people find it discriminatory which actually is. Therefore uniform laws are better than such laws.
we should follow constitution and only think about what is good for our country. We should prioritized our country not religion. I am not saying not to respect your religion what I want to say is that, if you have to choose between your country and religion you should choose your country. Here if uniform civil code is good for our country and for it’s smooth running we should accept it without giving a single thought. It may hurt our personal laws but personal laws should not above your country. Uniform civil code will decrease contradiction among the civil laws if implemented. If there is uniformity in criminal laws why it should not be in civil laws. Many times supreame court demanded it because court found its need to the society but parliament did not take it seriously. Many times it was promised by political parties as well , that when they will come in power they will implement it. bit
Mahatma Gandhi: “I do not expect India of my dreams to develop one religion, i.e. to be wholly Christian or wholly Mussalman, but I want it to be wholly tolerant, with its religious working side-by-side with one another”.