Uniform Civil Code To Be Implemented In India From 2022: What Does It Mean For Us

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Meaning of UCC
  • Origin of UCC
  • Objective of UCC
  • Brief Analysis of Shah Bano Case
  • Uniform Civil Code: Goa
  • Advantages of UCC
  • Disadvantages of UCC
  • Implementation in other states
  • Essentials for successful implementation of UCC
  • Important Case Laws related to it
  • Which countries follow UCC
  • WHY IN NEWS


Arvind Bobde, “Intellectuals Should See How The Uniform Civil Code Works In Goa”.

Haha, caught you!

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Tell us in the comments if this took you by a shock! Honestly!

However, this is not it. Let us know a little more about what is UCC all about!

INTRODUCTION

Uniform Civil Code is the one that offer for one law for the whole nation that would be applicable to all the religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, adoption, inheritance, etc. It is mentioned under Article 44 of the constitution which states that: “The state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.” In other words, It is the duty of the state to secure the uniform civil code for the citizens throughout the territory of India. Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of the State Policy, that are not enforceable in nature by the court but the principles mentioned therein are fundamental in governance according to Article 37 of the constitution.

ORIGIN OF UCC

The origin of the UCC dates back to colonial Republic of India once a British government submitted its report in 1835 stressing the requirement for uniformity within the codification of Indian law about crimes, evidence, and contracts, specifically recommending that private laws of Hindus and Muslims be held outside such codification. Constituent Assembly was got wind of to setup the Constitution in 1946 in independent Republic of India that consists of both kinds of members: people who wished to reform the society by adopting the Uniform Civil Code like Dr. B. R Ambedkar and different was primarily Muslim representatives who carry on personal laws. Also, the proponents of the Uniform Civil Code were opposed by the minority communities within the Constituent Assembly. As a result, Article 44 in IV of DPSP (Directive Principles of State Policy) was added in the Constitution.

OBJECTIVE OF UCC

The UCC aims to provide protection to vulnerable sections of the society including women, religious minorities, etc. while also promoting the gender equality. Enacted the code to simplify the laws that are segregated at present on the basis of religious beliefs. The UCC also aims to replace the fragmented laws and to simplify the complex laws around marriage ceremonies, succession, inheritance, adoptions making them one for all. The same civil law will then be applicable to all the citizens no matter of their faith.


LANDMARK JUDGEMENT WHICH FRAMED UCC

The case of Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum & Ors1 also known as the Shah Bano case. In the case of Shah Bano, she proceed to Supreme Court for seeking maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure once her husband divorced her after 40 years of wedding by giving triple talaq and denied her regular maintenance. The Supreme Court gave the decision in favour of Shah Bano by applying Section 125 of the Indian Criminal Code and it's applied to all citizens irrespective of religion. Justice Y.V Chandrachud, determined that “a common civil code would facilitate the reason behind national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law and so, the court directed Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code”. After this historic judgement, nationwide agitation occurred due to which government under stress passed the Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 which nullified the judgement and made Section 125 of the CrPC inapplicable to Muslim women.

SHINING EXAMPLE OF UCC: GOA CIVIL CODE

The Supreme Court hailed the State of Goa as a “shining example” where “Uniform Civil Code applicable to all, in spite of religion except while protecting certain limited rights”. Goa is the only state where a uniform civil code is followed. The Goa Civil Code is also known as the Goa Family Law. After India annexed Goa in the year 1961, the existing Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 was not changed. It applies to all the people of Goa living in the state irrespective of their religion. This is an only exception as no other state has adopted a common civil code.

FEATURES OF GOA CIVIL CODE

  • The Uniform Civil Code in Goa would be a progressive law that enables equal division of financial gain and property between spouse and additionally between children regardless of their gender.
  • Every birth, wedding and death must be registered. For divorce, there are many other provisions.
  • During the course of a wedding, all the property as well as wealth owned or acquired by each spouse can commonly held by the couple.
  • Each spouse in the matter 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. This genetic property should be shared equally among children.
  • Muslims who have their marriages registered in Goa cannot do polygamy or cannot give triple talaq.

ADVANTAGES OF UCC

1. Provide equal status to all the citizens
2. Promote the gender equality
3. Promote Secularism
4. Promote the National Integration
5. Bypass the issue of reform of existing personal laws
6. Inspire the aspirations of the young generation

DISADVANTAGES OF UCC

1. Difficulty in implementation due to diversity in India
2. Interference of state in personal matters
3. Many communities believe especially minorities that it is an encroachment on the religious freedom

SHOULD OTHER STATES OF THE COUNTRY IMPLEMENT UCC

The Supreme Court has declared the state of Goa as a ‘shining example ‘ for uniform civil code. The founders of the constitution visualized a homogenous code that shall govern the entire of the Republic of India. The other states may also try to adopt a homogenous code like Goa which can make sure the basic principles like equality and gender justice. This may ensure that the historical personal laws that are discriminatory towards the women is no more existing. The application of UCC promotes Secularism by separating religion from the matters like wedding, succession, adoption, etc. The UCC can bring simplification and uniformity of laws in all the states which can result in sleek functioning and administration of the judiciary. The other states that are much larger as well as diverse in terms of customs than Goa must ensure the interests of minorities while implementing the UCC in their respective states.


ESSENTIAL PARAMETERS FOR THE SUCESSFULL IMPLEMENTATION OF UCC

In order to promote the spirit of uniformity of laws and accomplish the objectives enshrined in the Article 44 of the Indian Constitution the following essentials are needed for the successful implementation of UCC:
• A progressive and broadminded outlook is needed among the people to understand the spirit of the Uniform Civil Code
• Education, Awareness and Sensitization campaigns must be organized
• The Uniform Civil Code should act in the best interest of all the religions without carrying any biasness
• A committee of eminent jurists should be considered to bring uniformity and care should be taken not to hurt the sentiments of any particular community.

IMPORTANT CASE LAWS RELATED TO IT

  • In the case of Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India2 also known as Sarla Mudgal Case (1995), which dealt with issue of bigamy and conflict between the personal laws existing on matters of marriage, the court highlighted the necessity for a UCC in this case. The court underlined that until UCC was enacted for all the citizens of the country, there will be always a loophole as a result of completely different faiths having different beliefs, and naturally due to different beliefs and practices of communities, there will always be a reason of conflict. It also requested the Prime Minister of India to have a fresh look at Article 44 and endeavour to secure for the citizens a UCC throughout the territory of India and wanted the court to be informed about the steps taken.
  • In the case of of Shabnam Hashmi v. UOI3, the petition was filed to ask the Supreme Court for optional guidelines for the adoption of children irrespective of religion. The petition was filed under Article 32 of the Constitution by a Muslim. He filed the petition for recognizing him as a parent of her adopted daughter. The Apex Court held that the adoption to be legalized and upheld the applicability of the JJ Act on the Muslims. The Court recognized the Act as a secular Act and thus liable to be applied to every citizen of India, irrespective of religion. Adoption was also held as the Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The issue of the Uniform Civil Code on personal law matters like adoption was raised by the Court as the need.
  • In the case of Ms Jorden Diengdeh v. S.S. Chopra4, the question of uniformity in personal marriage laws was raised. The Apex Court analysed that the laws related to marriage such as judicial separation or divorce are not uniform at all. It also emphasized the need for the uniform provisions like an irretrievable breakdown of marriage and mutual consent for divorce to be applied in all cases irrespective of religion. The need for framing the Uniform Code for marriage and divorce was raised by the Honourable Court as the Court.

WHICH COUNTRIES FOLLOW UCC?

The European nations and the USA have a secular law that applies equally and uniformly to all citizens irrespective of the difference in religion. Islamic countries follow a singular law based on Sharia that applies even to the Non-Muslims in the country like Bangladesh, Indonesia, etc where the law is secular but in few cases, it follows sharia law. Canada is named one of the few countries that follow UCC and implement the Personal Property Protection Act. These ideals or philosophies have been adopted in all provinces except Quebec. In India, there is only one state that follows a singular law which is the state of Goa.

WHY IN NEWS?

Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde on March 27 touched upon the controversial issue while inaugurating the new building of Bombay High Court in Goa and praised Goa’s Uniform Civil Code and encouraged “intellectuals” indulging in “academic talk” to visit the state to learn more about the code and it’s implementation in the state as well as talked about how great privilege he received while administering justice under the Uniform Civil Code because he came from Bombay High Court only under which Goa has has it’s jurisdiction.

 

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