Uniform Civil Code : Need & Challenges
Uniform Civil Code (UCC), inserted in Article 44 of the Costitution is a widely debated topic in India. Uniform Civil Cod is a proposed law in India to create and execute personal laws of citizens regardless of their gender, religion, caste or community. Article 44 of the Constitution directs the State to implement Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India. The primary objective of the Uniform Civil Code is to promote gender equality and national integration by bringing all personal laws under one umbrella.
India struggles with the idea of UCC due to the existence of different personal laws governing various aspects of life such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption among others. These personal laws are based on religious texts and customs and differ from one community to another. This has resulted in discrimination against women and minority groups, who often receive unfair treatment under these laws.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF UCC
A Uniform Civil Code would ensure that all citizens, irrespective of their religion or gender, are subjected to the same laws which would promote equality before law, gender equality, social justice and national unity. It would also bring an end to discriminatory practices such as triple talaq and polygamy, which are allowed under certain personal laws. It would also allow the modernization and reform of India's legal system. UCC can potentially reduce tensions and conflicts between different religions that arise due to differences in personal laws. The Supreme Court in various judgements has called for the implementation of the UCC. The most important one was Shah Bano Begum case of 1985, where a divorced muslim women demanded maintenance from her former husband and the apex court ruled in her favour.
There are concerns that a Uniform Civil Code would infringe on the religious and cultural rights of minorities and it may not be feasible given the diversity of the Indian society. There is a lack of consensus among the various religious and cultural communities in India on this issue. This makes it challenging to implement such a code. The issue of UCC is a highly sensitive and politicised issue and may be used as a political tool to
To conclude, the UCC debate in India is intricate and has various facets. The implementation of UCC is definitely desirable which will go a long way in promoting gender equality, social justice and strengthening the Indian nationhood. To ensure that UCC is perceived as just and equitable by all citizens, it is essential to consider diverse perspectives and needs of different groups and evolve a consensus.