‘The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”- Article 44 of The Constitution of India
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to switch the private laws supported on the scriptures and customs each major and non secular community within the country with a standard set governing every subject.
It means that all the private laws like law for wedding, divorce, inheritance, adoptions; everything ought to be a constant to all or any the folks of India no matter their faith.
The Constituent Assembly was set up to border our Constitution in 1946 in freelance India that consists of each style of members: people who wished to reform the society by adopting Uniform Civil Code were opposed by the minority communities within the Constituent Assembly. As a result just one line is supplementary to the Constitution beneath Article 44 Part IV of DPSP (Directive Principles of State Policy)
“The Hindu Code Bill”– A starting of a reformation Challenges and Success:
As it happened within the last years of The British Rule, The British initiated the Uniform Code for Hindus. A committee had been set-up within the year 1941 by Sir B.N. Rau and had an entire draft prepared by 1946 that was to use to all or any Hindus.
In 1948 Constituent Assembly fashioned a select Committee to review the draft of a new Hindu Code. It was chaired by B.R.Ambedkar the Law Minister and therefore the draft was in person examined by Ambedkar himself. It had been applicable to Sikhs , Buddhists and Jains similarly except all the Hindu sects. Introducing the new bill Ambedkar told the assembly that it had been his aim to systemize the foundations of Hindu law area unit scattered in innumerous selections of the High Courts and Privy Council and that type a unclear motley to the common person and gave rise to constant proceeding.
Initially the Codification had a dual purpose:
- To elevate status of Hindu Women
- To do away with disparities of Caste
The other features were
- The subsidization to the widow and daughter , of the similar share because the son(s) within the property of a person dying intestate (which within the past had passed solely to the male)
- The granting of maintenance to the married person who chose to live separately from her husband if he was cruel to her , had a communicable disease, etc
- Abolishing rules of Caste and Sub-caste in sanctify a wedding. All marriages would have the similar religious rituals as well as legal status irrespective of the caste the spouse belonged.
- Inter Caste marriages were allowed in accordance with the rituals of either of the party
- Allowing either of the partner to file for and obtain divorce on certain grounds such as disease that is incurable , Cruelty etc.
- Allowing adoption of child belonging to a different caste.
The Present day issues:
Though the 1955 Code brought magnanimous changes within the Hindu Culture, bringing it out from the evil spell of practice of Untouchability and Women bondage, the main issue that prevails even to the present day is the Indian mindset, where many communities still perform on their caste norms and stay terribly rigid in terms
- Inter-Caste Marriage
- Adoption Policy
- Widow Remarriage
- Women Education
- Not allowed to seek for divorce in spite of Husband Cruelty and Sickness rather forced to stay at home and look after the husband to an extent she is asked to give up her job if she is practicing any.
Working of the Uniform Civil Code
The biggest obstacle in implementing the Uniform Civil Code, except getting an agreement, is the drafting. The Uniform Civil Code ought to carve a balance between protection of basic fundamental rights and non-secular dogmas of people. It ought to be a code that is just and proper according to a man of ordinary prudence, without any bias with regards to religious or political considerations.
Marriage and divorce:
The personal laws of every faith contain different necessities of a sound marriage. The new code ought to have the essential necessities of valid marriage which shall include:
(i) the new code should impose monogamy banning multiple marriages under any religion..
(ii) The minimum age limit for a male should be 21 years and for a female should be 18 years and this should be subject to change as the age limit can change depending on the scenario of the country.
(iii) Registration of marriage should be made compulsory. A valid marriage will be said to have solemnized when the man and the woman sign their declaration of eligibility before a registrar.
(iv) The grounds and procedure for divorce ought to be specifically ordered down. The grounds enumerated within the code should be reasonable and the procedure prescribed should be according to the principles of natural justice.
Succession and inheritance:
This area throws up even more uncontrollable issues. In Hindu law, there’s a distinction between a joint family property and self acquired property that isn’t underneath the Muslim law. The Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), formed underneath the Hindu law, run businesses and own agricultural lands. There also are fetters obligatory on the extent to that one can bequeath property by will under the Muslim law.
The maintenance laws for the Hindus and Muslims are very different. Except from personal laws, a non-Muslim woman can claim maintenance under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure. However the Code of Maintenance u/s 15 gives equal rights to women in the maintenance post a divorce or death of a partner.
Even after 68 years of independence and claiming that India is a secular country, we have failed to achieve a Uniform Civil Code, which can help combat the misuse of personal laws for selfish purposes. From time to time Courts as well as politicians have laid the importance of the Uniform Civil Code but none of them has able to influence the law makers or the Legislative Assembly who is empowered to make laws regarding the same
The preamble of the Constitution states that India is a “secular democratic republic” This means that there is no State religion. A secular State shall not discriminate against anyone on the ground of religion. A State is only concerned with the relation between man and man. It is not concerned with the relation of man with God. It does not mean allowing all religions to be practiced. It means that religion should not interfere with the mundane life of an individual.
Author: M. Gowri Padmaja from KLE Society’s Law College.