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Uniform civil code

Uniform civil code      

As its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has been strongly advised to ensure national integration in a diverse and pluralistic polity.

Uniform civil code    

As its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has been strongly advised to ensure national integration in a diverse and pluralistic polity. First, it will assist in unifying all Indians under the purview of a single national civil code of conduct, irrespective of their caste, religion, or gender. It will also assist in reducing the use of vote-bank politics by political parties during elections.

A unified code would demonstrate that the country has moved beyond caste and religious politics and is now an advanced, mature democracy. In contrast to our economic growth, which has been strong, our social growth has lagged, particularly when it comes to gender parity globally, where India trails on most measures. Since many religious personal laws are patriarchal in nature when it comes to equal rights in marriage, property ownership, or inheritance, the UCC will grant women more equitable rights. Numerous specific and outdated personal law provisions gravely violate human rights. 

Given the difficulties involved in anticipating, including, compiling, and envisaging a broad and diverse range of interests and sentiments to be addressed, the exercise of creating a set of laws that will be applicable across communities is therefore a very challenging one. Minorities worry that it will force the preferences of the majority to take precedence over their interests, which was to be expected.

Historical perspective – The debate for a uniform civil code dates back to the colonial period in India.

  • Pre-Independence (colonial era)
    • The October 1840 Lex Loci Report emphasized the value and requirement of uniformity in the codification of Indian law with regard to crimes, evidence, and contract. However, it also suggested that such codification should not apply to the personal laws of Muslims and Hindus.
    • The Queen's Proclamation of 1859 made the absolute promise not to interfere with religious matters.

Therefore, personal laws continue to be governed by distinct codes for various communities, in contrast to criminal laws, which were codified and made common for the entire nation.

  • Post-Colonial era (1947-1985)
    • A uniform civil code was a demand made during the constitution's drafting by well-known figures like Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The UCC was nevertheless included in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP, Article 44), despite resistance from religious fundamentalists and a general lack of awareness at the time.

The Constitution of India on the Uniform Civil Code

"The State shall endeavor to secure the citizen a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India," reads Part IV, Article 44 of the Constitution.

However, the DPSP "shall not be enforceable by any court," according to Article 37 of the Constitution. They are nonetheless "fundamental in the country's governance." This shows that even though our constitution as written believes that a Uniform Civil Code should be applied in some way, it does not impose any requirements on its application.

Uniform Civil Code and Arguments For & Against

Arguments with regard to the Uniform Civil Code:

  • India will become more integrated because there are numerous religions, traditions, and practices in this nation. India will be more integrated than it has ever been since independence with the help of a uniform civil code. It will assist in unifying all Indians under a single national civil code of conduct, regardless of caste, religion, or tribe.
  • Reduction of Vote Bank Politics: A UCC will also aid in the reduction of vote bank politics, which the majority of political parties engage in at every election.
  • Personal Laws Are a Loophole- By allowing personal laws we have constituted an alternate judicial system that still operates on thousands of years old values. A uniform civil code would change that.
  • It is a sign that the country has moved away from caste and religious politics and is now a modern, progressive one. Our social growth has lagged behind, despite the fact that our economic growth has been significant. The UCC benefits society in moving forward and taking India towards its goal of becoming a truly developed nation.
  • More Rights for Women—We are condemning women to oppression and mistreatment by allowing outmoded religious laws to continue to govern family life because religious personal laws are inherently misogynistic. The status of women in India will also be improved by a uniform civil code.
  • Every law pertaining to marriage, inheritance, family, land, etc. should be the same for all Indians. The only way to guarantee equal treatment for all Indians is through UCC.
  • Promotes Real Secularism- The freedom to practice one's religion is not restricted by a uniform civil code; rather, it simply means that everyone in India must abide by the same laws, regardless of their religious beliefs.
  • A minority of people shouldn't be able to pick and choose which laws they want to be governed by because change has always been the law of nature. These personal laws weren't made to stand still in a different time or place because they were created in a particular spatiotemporal context.
  • Many of the specific personal laws' provisions violate human rights.
  • The freedom of religion is guaranteed by Articles 25 and 26, and the UCC does not oppose secularism.
  • A more cohesive legal system will be created by codifying and combining the various personal laws. By doing this, the judiciary will be able to administer the law more easily and effectively while also clearing up the current confusion.

 

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