Fundamental Rights vs Uniform Civil Code

“I personally do not understand why religion should be given this vast, expansive jurisdiction so as to cover the whole of life and to prevent the legislature from encroaching upon that field. After all, what are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is so full of inequities, so full of inequalities, discriminations and other things, which conflict with our fundamental rights. It is, therefore, quite impossible for anybody to conceive that the personal law shall be excluded from the jurisdiction of the State.”[1]

The above-mentioned is a saying of BR Ambedkar, and these words show how he supported today’s contention issue, which was also a concern of Constitution makers. By digging into legal history, our Constitution has given us every right with so much debate in the assembly, the golden issue that still thrives between these rights for most people is Uniform Civil Code. India is the fastest emerging global power in the world, with obviously top in the list of population, which has different religions, tribes, and cultures and thus this implementation of UCC gets in confront with citizens basic rights like fundamental rights. Before we start with the reasons behind the tussle as the heading suggests, let’s proceed with first fundamental rights and UCC as the detailed information in both areas is essential.


Fundamental Rights are a crisp solution of recognition of rights of citizens given by the Constitution. Fundamental rights act as a catalyst for citizens of the nation, taken from the US Constitution, also known as the sacred part of our living document. They are divided into broad six categories in Part III which includes Articles 12-35, each article in it has its feature and specific nature of protection of individual rights though it has a deep historical background and with a union of decisions the resultant part was bought into living. Equilibrium between individual liberty and social control helps in the set-up of a welfare state. But, we also know there are also some restrictions to these fundamental rights like in Emergency or preserving public interest, to maintain national peace and order. Every democratic nation has these rights, to protect the liberty of each citizen.

UCC as uniform civil code. , the power of debate in India. It is a set of common personal laws for all citizens. In 1947 the demand for UCC by women activists began and due to this few reforms were also passed. The Hindu Code bill was also passed by parliament that time instead of the opposition. The Uniform Civil Code is in Article 44 which is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) that states that The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. Unlike the FRs, it is in Part IV of the Constitution. Even the current ruling political party in India mentioned in its manifesto the applicability of UCC and we will have to see what goes next with it in the nation. The issue of UCC came up with one of the landmark cases that was Mohd. Ahmed Khan v Shah Bano Begum [2]famously known as the Shah Bano case, was a step-in triumph for implementation but due to political backlash the legacy of the case was only left through proof of applying the Uniform civil code by seeing the discrimination faced by Muslim women.


There are disadvantages and advantages before this code will be implemented, no empire establishes overnight, and there is a need for a proper legal mechanism that will lead to a quality check of any law, to be approved by the public it should satisfy each citizen’s needs and not violate their rights.

  • Right to freedom of speech and expression: The following are defined in Article 19(1) (a) and if citizens or the public do not have the right to express their views opinions, beliefs etc freely without any forceful restrictions and if UCC will be imposed in future then this right of public will be affected.
  • Right to freedom of religion: PPP that profess, propagate, and practices religion to all citizen irrespective of restrictions and thus the implementation of Civil code will violate this fundamental right as there will be common personal law and no different Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh personal laws covering marriage, divorce or property inheritance. The case namely, Ratilal Panachand Gandhi v. State of Bombay [3]stated or cleared the meaning of Article 25 with also describing the restrictions that can be imposed by the state.
  • Secularism: The Preamble of Indian Constitution has the term secularism [4]as India is a secular Democratic Republic. Positive secularism has its roots in India and so it does not discriminate against people on the grounds of religion thus India stands in a defending position or stands in religious controversy or issue in other words it has not gone into the stages of religious governance and there is a high possibility that UCC might take it. S.R. Bommai v. Union of India [5]the mentioned case held that religion cannot be mixed with state secular activities.
  • A seed for violence: When we talk about religious riots and violence in the nation which  has become a usual sight to observe. One of the other regions has a fight for religious rights demand. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955[6] Or Anand Marriage Act, 1909[7] for Sikhs and many other property and divorce act for different religion according to their culture and traditions, but this code can cause a major hit to all these. Remember the CAA or triple talaq law which earlier has become a minor cause of concern and van again gain its power futher with UCC.
  • International hit: European countries and USA has the secular uniform civil law that applies to each individual living there equally. But, apart from it the Islamic countries or any other particular religion rich country, there foreign relations with India can be affected. Essence of this code can be also carried worldwide.


Despite of major contention points or drawbacks of it, there are though some advantages. Firstly, it can promote pure form of secularism in India it is selective secularism currently at its rule, but after the application of UCC it will be real therefore, not violation of right to religion, it just means every person will be treated equally and not with limitations. Equality among religion and plus among Indians will contribute to feeling of oneness. Right to Equality Article 14 to 18 includes it with embracing the nation’s different groups’ liberties and rights provided under the Constitution. Equality before law, where different religion has different laws the UCC will provide only common law to be practice by all. Secondly, the protection of rights of women, uniform civil code will also help in improving the condition of women in India. We all know our society is patriarchal and misogynistic which to an extent has stopped today due to recognition of women’s rights defined by laws made in the 20th century and by allowing old religious rules to continue to govern the family life we are condemning all Indian women living in an Indian society. A uniform civil code will help in changing these age-old traditions that have, where we do understand that women should be treated fairly and given equal rights. Thirdly, the need for a progressive nation after 70 plus years of Independence we have seen many changes in laws and society of India and the addition of UCC can be drastic change it is a sign that the nation has moved away from caste and religious politics also might be right to say that socially. A uniform civil code will help society move forward and take India towards its goal of becoming a developed nation. Homogeneity in laws is important otherwise the mixed culture will grab the power of unity. Fourthly, it will cause a relief to the legal system as there will be a decrease in the number of filling cases of each religion with separate personal laws to follow. The court will not be much burdened with personal laws cases only deal with common ones and the work will be far better with it because with constant overlapping provisions of law would be avoided.  Fifth, upholding the equality and laws requirement for rise of new community called LGBTQ, the fight for demand of their laws in Court is ongoing but bringing down with UCC their rights will be enhanced and treated as common law like all. Lastly, to deal with the issue of vote bank politics, as a voter we know that each political party gains votes based on religion and if there will be a common law then resultant no room for politicising issues that create discrimination.

Some reasons why it is essential while some that is not. The uniform civil code in Goa is, the only state of India which has it, regardless of religion, gender, or caste. It has a common family law that implies religion to follow. It was in 1961 when Goa became a Union territory and by Goa Daman and Diu administration act 1962 the parliament implemented the Portuguese civil code 1867. So, Goa has answers to setbacks and problems faced by its government and a positive impact on its state. Sarla Mudgal v Union of India [8]another well-defined case where the top Court the us Supreme Court reminded the government of India to enact a Uniform Civil Code, to stop conflicting religious ideologies that give rise to communal violence.

CONCLUSION India is secular socialist democratic Republic nation. The nation with aware by each one in the world called as unity in diversity, already set up framework for it though as the growing changes in society there is also a need for changes in law to be a modern progressive nation therefore UCC will evaporate the issues present between religions and nullify the gap between them. In history, the seed was sown for its requirement and not now but in the due passage of time it may take its place as a law. People need to understand that it is a sign of equality for a developed nation, helps in the prevention of violation of human rights because of honour killings involved in religion, the code will keep balance with all religious groups and finally the lack of true democracy will go behind the steps of not protecting citizen on the grounds of non-implementation Standard civil code.

[1] Opinion, Ambedkar and Uniform Code. Why Ambedkar supported Uniform Civil Code, The Hindu Business Line ( May 24,2023,6:25 PM )  

[2] Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano Begum And Ors on 23 April 1985

 1985 AIR 945, 1985 SCR (3) 844

[3] Ratilal Panachand Gandhi vs The State Of Bombay And … on 18 March 1954

 1954 AIR 388, 1954 SCR 1035

[4] By the 42nd Amendment on December 18, 1976, the term “Secular” was also incorporated into the Preamble

[5] S.R. Bommai vs Union Of India on 11 March 1994

 1994 AIR 1918, 1994 SCC (3) 1

[6] Hindu Marriage Act 1955


[8] Smt. Sarla Mudgal  vs Union Of India & Ors on 10 May, 1995

 1995 AIR 1531, 1995 SCC (3) 635

Author: Prashasti Singh Kushwaha

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