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What is Uniform Civil Code in India? Know History, articles and more

Uniform Civil Code in India

Uniform Civil Code in India: The Uniform Civil Code, also known as the UCC, is a proposed law in India to create and execute personal laws of citizens that are applicable to all people regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Currently, the religious texts of different communities regulate their personal laws.

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Uniform Civil Code In India History

  • The British government’s 1835 report on colonial India, which emphasized the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law with regard to crimes, evidence, and contracts and specifically suggested that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept outside of such codification, is where the UCC first emerged.
  • The government was forced to create the B N Rau Committee in 1941 to codify Hindu law due to an increase in legislation addressing personal concerns at the end of British rule. Examining the issue of whether common Hindu laws are necessary was the Hindu Law Committee’s responsibility.
  • According to the committee’s recommendation, which was based on the scriptures, women would have equal rights under a codified version of Hindu law. The 1937 Act was reviewed, and the committee suggested establishing a civil code for Hindu marriage and succession.

Why is Uniform Civil Code is Proposed in Rajya Sabha?

The BJP member Kirodi Lal Meena submitted a bill in the upper house that would create a commission to draught a UCC. The Bill was introduced by Meena with the intention of being implemented nationwide. The bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha because it mentioned creating a national inspection and investigation commission to create a uniform civil code.

Uniform Civil Code: Why Muslims and other conservative groups are against it?

Muslim organisations, and other conservative religious groups and sects continue to debate the Uniform Civil Code, surrounding secularism in Indian politics in defence of sharia and religious practises. Personal laws govern marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, and maintenance. They are distinct from public laws.

Uniform Civil Code in India: What are the main arguments?

  • The primary argument against a UCC is that it infringes on the right of citizens to practise the religion of their choice, which enables religious communities to adhere to their own local laws. For instance, Article 25 guarantees the autonomy of every religious organisation. They are entitled to maintain their unique culture under Article 29.

 

  • The fundamental rights subcommittee of the Indian Constituent Assembly purposefully omitted the inclusion of a UCC as a fundamental right. Tribal organisations have expressed a similar worry, such as the Rashtriya Adivasi Ekta Parishad, which petitioned the Supreme Court in 2016 to request protection for its members’ traditions and religious beliefs from a future UCC. Customary rules already in place take precedence over federal laws in Nagaland’s tribal districts when it comes to private matters like marriage, property ownership, etc.

 

  • It is stated that “one nation, one law” cannot be applied to the unique personal laws of different communities if codified civil laws and criminal laws like the CrPC and IPC do not adhere to this principle. For instance, the governments of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu altered the federal Indian Evidence Act of 1872. Be aware that several states have various legal drinking ages when it comes to criminal law.

 

  • After all, personal laws were included in the Concurrent List as entry number 5, providing both the Parliament and State Assemblies the authority to enact personal laws. If the Constitution’s creators had wanted personal laws to be uniform, they would have included them on the union list and given parliament full legislative authority over them.

 

  • Finally, it is claimed that a UCC will impose a Hinduized code on all communities. A UCC might, for instance, have clauses that, while conforming to Hindu tradition in matters like marriage, will legally obligate members of other communities to do the same.

What is the purpose of Uniform Civil Code in India?

  • The UCC in India aims to safeguard vulnerable communities, including women and religious minorities, as envisioned by Ambedkar, while simultaneously fostering nationalistic fervour via unity.
  • When put into effect, the code will aim to make laws that are currently divided based on religious views, such as the Hindu code bill, Sharia law, and others, simpler. The code will make the complicated regulations governing marriage ceremonies, succession, inheritance, and adoptions simpler and more universal. All citizens will then be subject to the same civil law, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Uniform Civil Code in India: What does the Indian Constitution say?

Meanwhile, Articles 25-28 of the Indian Constitution, meanwhile, guarantee religious freedom to Indian citizens and permit religious organizations to conduct their own affairs. Article 44 of the Constitution requires the Indian state to apply directive principles and common law for all Indian citizens while establishing a nation’s policies.

Due to the fact that Uniform Civil Code in India does not make distinctions based on gender or sexual orientation, this draught also inspires hope for the LGBTQIA+ population in India. No applicable law in India up to this point has acknowledged same-sex marriages as legal.

Uniform Civil Code in India: When were the personal laws drafted?

For primarily Hindu and Muslim populations, personal laws were originally drafted during the British Raj. British officials decided against interfering more in this domestic matter out of concern for the community leaders’ resistance.

Goa, a state in India, was expelled from the country Due to colonial rule in the formerly Portuguese Goa and Daman, the Indian state of Goa was cut off from the rest of India but kept its common family law, known as the Goa civil code, making it the only state in India to this day with a unified civil code.

Hindu code bills were introduced after India gained its independence and largely codified and reformatted personal laws in different sects of Indian religions like Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs while exempting Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Parsis because they were recognised as separate communities from Hindus.

Uniform Civil Code and Shah Bano Case:

Following the Shah Bano case in 1985, UCC became an important subject of discussion in Indian politics. The issue of applying some laws to all citizens without hurting their fundamental right to freedom of religion gave rise to the discussion.

The discussion then turned to Muslim Personal Law, which allows for unilateral divorce and polygamy and is considered one of the legal ways that Sharia law is applied. UCC was again suggested, in November 2019 and March 2020, however each time it was quickly removed without being introduced in parliament.

Uniform Civil Code in India: What is the Hindu Code Bill?

After the Indian Constitution was adopted in 1951, a select committee headed by B. R. Ambedkar was convened, and they were given the Rau Committee report’s draft to review. The Hindu Code Bill was discussed for a while before it expired and was resubmitted in 1952.

The Hindu Succession Act was subsequently passed in 1956 to reform and codify the legislation governing intestate or unwilled succession among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. The Act updated Hindu personal law and increased property rights and ownership opportunities for women. Their father’s inheritance, it granted women property rights.

The Act of 1956’s general rules of succession state that, in the case of an intestate male death, Class I heirs succeed before Class II heirs. The Act was amended in 2005 to add more descendants, elevating women to Class I heirs. The daughter receives the exact same portion as a son.

Uniform Civil Code in India: What is the difference between civil laws and criminal laws?

Civil laws are impacted by faith, although criminal laws in India are uniform and apply to all people equally, regardless of their religious views. The personal laws which govern in civil disputes have always been applied in accordance with constitutional standards, despite being swayed by religious scriptures.

Uniform Civil Code in India: What are personal laws?

Laws that are relevant to a particular group of people based on their caste, religion, faith, and beliefs, are made after careful examination of traditional practices and religious scriptures. Hindu and Muslim personal law derives from and is governed by the sacred books of their respective religions.

Hinduism recognises the application of personal laws to cases involving legal matters such as inheritance, succession, marriage, adoption, co-parenting, sons’ duty to settle their father’s debts, the division of family property, maintenance, guardianship, and charity contributions.

Islam has personal rules that are based on the Quran that govern issues including pre-emption, guardianship, guardianship, marriage, wakfs, dowry, inheritance, wills, succession, legacies, and marriage.

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