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UCC can become basis for development

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By: Priyanka Saurabh

The Constitution of the country inspires us for equality and harmony and the commitment to implement the Uniform Civil Code law will act as a bridge to realize this inspiration.” The Uniform Civil Code is discussed in Article 44 of the Constitution. Related to the Directive Principles of State Policy, this article states that ‘The State shall endeavor to obtain a uniform civil code for the citizens throughout the territory of India’.

According to the Indian Constitution, India is a secular country, in which followers of all religions and sects (eg Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, etc.) have the right to make laws related to their respective religions.

There are two types of personal laws in India. The first is the Hindu Marriage Act 1956 which applies to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and other sects. Second, Muslim personal law applies to those who follow the Muslim religion. In such a situation, while the Hindu Marriage Act 1956, made under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, is applicable for all other religions and sects except Muslims, then there is talk of implementing a similar law for the Muslim religion as well, which will be relevant and new.

There is hope for an India in the making. It is expected to remove the inconsistencies related to India’s law. Because the same civil code is followed in many countries of the world. These countries include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia, Sudan, Egypt, America, Ireland, etc. In all these countries there are uniform laws for all religions and there are no separate laws for any particular religion or community. But in India, such a game of appeasement was played for political gains, which is destroying the philosophy of unity in diversity and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

Due to personal laws, situations of inconsistency are also arising in some places. Community events are also seen from a political point of view, this way of looking at the incident is promoting class discrimination. As soon as the Uniform Civil Code is enacted, justice will be done for the country’s, especially half-Muslim population.

Polygamy will be banned. Women will get rights in ancestral property; it will also be possible to get the right to adopt children. The minimum age for marriage of a girl in all religions will be 18 years. At present Muslim society is governed under personal law based on Sharia. In this, Muslim men are allowed four marriages.

As soon as this comes into force, only one marriage will be valid. Muslim girls will also get equal rights as boys.  Practices’ like Iddat and Halala will be banned. In the case of divorce, husband and wife will have equal rights. India is a country with many religions, customs, and practices. The Uniform Civil Code will help India become more unified than it has been since independence. It will help bring every Indian, irrespective of his caste, religion, or tribe, under one national code of civil conduct. UCC will also help in reducing vote bank politics which most political parties indulge in during every election. UCC will help society move forward and take India towards the goal of becoming a truly developed nation.

UCC is the only way to ensure that all Indians are treated equally. All laws relating to marriage, inheritance, family, land, etc. should be equal for all Indians. A Uniform Civil Code does not mean that it will limit the freedom of people to practice their religion, it just means that every person will be treated equally and all citizens of India will be subject to the same laws. It has to be done no matter what or what religion it is.

Codification and unification of various individual laws will create a more coherent legal system. This will reduce the existing confusion and enable easier and more efficient administration of laws by the judiciary.

India has a unique blend of codified personal laws of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Parsis. There exists no uniform family-related law in a single statute book for all Indians that would be acceptable to all religious communities co-existing in India. UCC is certainly desirable and will go a long way in strengthening and consolidating Indian nationalism. The differences are in its timing and the manner of realizing it. Instead of using it as an emotional issue to score political points, political and intellectual leaders should try to build consensus.

The question is not about the protection of minorities or even national unity, it is simply about treating every human individual with dignity, which personal laws have so far failed to do. Religious personal laws are misogynistic and by allowing outdated religious rules to dictate family life we are condemning all Indian women to subjugation and abuse. The Uniform Civil Code will also help in improving the status of women in India. Similarly, it will be mandatory for people of all religions to register for live-in relationships. Registration of marriage is also necessary for this.

Besides, many other things can eliminate the difference between men and women through this. It would be good if everyone understood its merits and came forward to praise it instead of opposing it. What is needed today is that all the state and central governments of the country should soon make laws on this. Different laws of different religions put a burden on the judiciary.

With the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, this problem will be solved and the cases pending in the courts for years will be decided soon. There will be the same law for everyone in marriage, divorce, adoption, and division of property, no matter what religion they belong to. Implementation of uniform law for every Indian in the country will also affect the politics of the country and political parties will not be able to do vote bank politics and there will be polarization of votes. The implementation of the Uniform Civil Code will also improve the condition of women in India. If we think about this in an Indian spirit, then it will naturally be seen that uniform civil law will become an important basis for the development of the country and society.

(The author is a Research Scholar in Political Science-The views expressed in the article are her own)

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