The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a code that comes under Article 44 of the Constitution. The UCC has the power for formulation of one law for the whole of the nation. This law shall be applicable for all communities irrespective of their faith, belief and religion. These codes delve into matters ranging from marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and so on. The code is solely aimed at the unification of India and shall endeavour to secure a single law for all the citizens throughout the territory of India.
This issue has been considered so important that it has been placed at the centre of political narrative and multiple debates for over a century. This also is to be kept in mind that the ruling party now, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has had it as their prime focus and has been pushing for its legislation in Parliament. The saffron party was the first to promise the implementation of Uniform Civil Code provided that it was elected to power.
Importance of Article 44.
The purpose of Article 44 of the Directive Principles in the Indian Constitution was to address bigotry. Discrimination was often faced by minorities and other vulnerable groups. The article somehow was a source of safeguarding and promoting harmony among diverse cultural groups spread across the country. Dr B R Ambedkar, while formulating the Constitution focused on the fact that a UCC is certainly desirable given the secular status of the country but for the moment it should remain voluntary. The UCC was incorporated in the Constitution as an aspect that would be later fulfilled when the nation would be at the social forefront of accepting it.
The story behind the Origin of Uniform Civil Code.
The origin of the UCC dates back to colonial India when the country was ruled by the British government. There was apparent frustration among the ruling government given the vast diversity of the country and how almost every section had a rule for its governance, mostly influenced by religion. There were reports submitted in 1835 that thoroughly stressed uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts. The emphasis was placed specifically on the fact that the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept outside such codification.
These convoluted issues amalgamated together forced the British government to form the B N Rau Committee. This committee was given the power to code Hindu law in 1941. The task of questioning the necessity of common Hindu laws was handed over to the Hindu Law Committee. The committee, by scriptures, recommended a codified Hindu law, the focus was put on giving women equal rights. The 1937 Act was reviewed and this progressed into a civil code of marriage and succession for Hindus.
Know the personal laws that made UCC a necessity:
Laws that apply to a certain group of people mostly influenced by religion or other factors like caste, faith, and belief are known as personal laws. These laws are crafted after due consideration of customs and religious texts. The personal laws of Hindus and Muslims are sourced from their respective religious ancient texts.
In Hinduism, personal laws govern legal issues related to inheritance, marriage, adoption, obligations of sons to pay their father’s debts, the partition of family property, and so on. In Islam, personal laws apply to matters relating to inheritance, succession, marriage, wakfs, dowry, divorce, and so on taking roots from Quran.
What reforms shall the Uniform Civil Code bring?
The UCC aims to protect vulnerable sections like women and other minorities, all the while promoting secularity via unity. When enacted the code will work to simplify laws while keeping away religious intervention. The code will simplify the complex laws making them one for all. It shall apply to all citizens irrespective of their faith.