Policy on UCC is for legislators to decide, not court: govt to Delhi High Court
- In response to a PIL filed in 2019, the Ministry of Law and Justice stated that the adoption of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a directive concept under the Constitution (Article 44), is a matter of public policy and that the Court cannot provide any direction in this regard.
- The Centre has asked the 21st Law Commission of India to look at various aspects of UCC and give recommendations.
Uniform civil code
- UCC is a proposed law that would establish a single national law that would apply to all faith communities in personal concerns such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
- According to Article 44 of the Constitution, the state must make every effort to provide citizens with a UCC throughout India's territory.
- One of the Directive Principles of State Policy is Article 44. (DPSP).
- The DPSP, as described in Article 37, are not justiciable (that is, they cannot be enforced by a court), but the concepts they establish are essential in government.
Status of UCC in india
- Most civil matters in India are governed by a standard code, such as the Indian Contract Act of 1872, the Civil Procedure Code, the Transfer of Property Act of 1882, the Partnership Act of 1932, and the Evidence Act of 1872.
- States, on the other hand, have made hundreds of revisions, and as a result, even under these secular civil rules, there is variance in certain areas.
- Several states have recently declined to be controlled by the Uniform Motor Vehicles Act 2019 .
- The UCC has its origins in colonial India, when the British government issued a report in 1835 emphasising the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts, and specifically recommending that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be left out of such codification.
- In 1941, the government formed the B N Rau Committee to codify Hindu law due to an increase in legislation dealing with personal concerns at the end of British rule.
- Following these recommendations, the Hindu Succession Act was passed in 1956, amending and codifying the legislation relating to intestate or unwilled succession among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.
- There were, however, different personal laws for Muslims, Christians, and Parsis.
- The courts have frequently said in their rulings that the government should strive toward a UCC in order to bring uniformity.
- The Shah Bano case verdict from 1985 is well-known.
- The Sarla Mudgal Case (1995), for example, dealt with the subject of bigamy and the discrepancy between existing personal rules on marriage.
- By claiming that behaviours like triple talaq and polygamy jeopardise a woman's right to a dignified existence, the Centre has raised the question of whether constitutional protection for religious practises should extend to those that violate fundamental rights.
Implications of Uniform Civil Code on Personal Laws
- Protection of Vulnerable Sections of Society: The UCC attempts to safeguard vulnerable sections of society, like as women and religious minorities, as envisioned by Ambedkar, while simultaneously boosting nationalistic ardour via unity.
- Laws will be simplified: The code will make the complicated laws of marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, and adoptions more accessible to everyone. All citizens, regardless of their faith, will be subject to the same civil law.
- Secularism is the goal expressed in the Preamble, and a secular republic requires a common law for all citizens rather than differentiating standards based on religious customs.
- Gender Justice: If the UCC passes, all personal laws will be abolished. Existing laws that discriminate against women will be repealed.
Exceptions in Central Family Laws
- All central family law Acts approved by Parliament since Independence stipulate that they shall apply to ""the entire country of India, excluding the state of Jammu & Kashmir.""
- ""Nothing herein included shall apply to the Renoncants in the Union Territory of Pondicherry,"" a second exception was introduced to all of these Acts in 1968.
- With the exception of Goa, Daman, and Diu, none of these Acts apply.
- Articles 371A and 371G of the Constitution, which apply to the north-eastern states of Nagaland and Mizoram, specify that no parliamentary legislation will supplant the customary law and religion-based system for governance.
- Communal politics has been used to frame the desire for a common civil code.
- A significant portion of the population views it as majoritarianism disguised as social change.
- Article 25 of the Indian constitution, which attempts to maintain the right to practise and spread any religion, clashes with the equality principles stated in Article 14 of the Indian constitution.
- The government and society must work hard to build trust, but more crucially, find common ground with social reformers rather than religious conservatives.
- Rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach, the government might gradually incorporate characteristics like marriage, adoption, succession, and maintenance into a UCC.
- The codification of all personal laws is urgently needed so that prejudices and stereotypes in each one can be exposed and tested against the Constitution's fundamental rights.