This article discusses the proposed Uniform Civil Code in India, which aims to replace the personal laws of different religious communities with a single code that is applicable to all citizens. The article discusses the historical background of legal pluralism in India and explains why a Uniform Civil Code is needed. – The Constitution of India provides uniform civil code as a directive principle and corresponds to article 44. It outlines the State’s policy in Part IV, which is considered to be fundamental rights and fundamental duties that lie with the state citizens. The article discusses how religious scriptures have been applied as personal laws in India, and how this has caused problems for those whose rights lie within the court system. UCC is the uniform set of laws that all states must abide by, regardless of territory or religious beliefs. It is important for India governance to ensure that all citizens are treated equally under one law, regardless of their beliefs or where they live.
However, in India, Hindu Succession Act and Muslim Personal Law are two separate laws based on the religion of the people. Customary law is also observed in different communities such as Jammu and Kashmir, where there is a separate code for Muslims. This means that some religious communities will have different rules for succession and inheritance than others. In order to ensure that Indians are treated equally under one law, a single statute book was created to continue personal laws for different communities. This statute book also includes codified criminal laws so there is uniformity across all states of India.
UCC in India has been affected by religion and caste over the years. Since most civil matters are governed by secular civil laws, personal laws are based on religious views of different people. The Indian Contract Act, Evidence Act, Partnership Act and Civil Procedure Code have all been impacted by UCC in India. Over 100 amendments have been made to the various statutes to bring about uniformity in certain aspects of civil law. The diversity of faith and beliefs among different people has meant that certain aspects of UCC have had to be changed or amended several times over the years. This has resulted in a similar code for all states as far as civil laws are concerned. However, there is still some disparity when it comes to criminal laws, criminal procedure and certain aspects of the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act due to tribal domiciles or caste affiliations. The Contract Act, Partnership Act and Evidence Act remain largely unchanged across all states in India thanks to the UCC reforms that have taken place over the years.
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is an attempt to codify civil laws in India, thereby replacing distinct personal laws of different communities with a unified decree. This was done with the intention of promoting a citizens code and unifying the diverse sects and religions under one law. The UCC is applicable on matters like marriage, divorce, adoption, succession and inheritance. It was written into the Indian Constitution to ensure that unique personal laws pertaining to religion, race and caste do not override criminal laws. The draft model document of UCC was framed by the framers of the Constitution in order to apply one nation’s law equally across all states in India. The model document includes provisions from various civil laws such as CrPC, Indian Evidence Act etc., which are applicable on all citizens regardless of their religion or race or caste.
It is proposed to replace the personal laws of various religions in matters including marriage, divorce, maintenance and inheritance. The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) seeks to provide a common law for all citizens of India, which will give equality and fairness in legal proceedings involving marriage and property. It will also give vulnerable sections such as women more rights in adoption, custody and inheritance. In addition, it will provide legal protection for the rights of children in matters related to divorce and child custody. This proposal has been set up to improve the current system of personal laws which are often found to be discriminatory towards women or members from minority communities.
In India, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought to enact a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) that would cover all citizens of India regardless of their religion or creed. The Janata Party, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, first introduced a private member bill in 1996 seeking UCC implementation. This was followed by the BJP when it came to power in 1998, introducing a bill in Parliament for the enactment of UCC. The advent of this investigation committee has fueled debate on UCC in India and its implementation across the entire territory. The political climate has been seen as an important factor for the preparation of this law which seeks to bring uniformity across personal laws that have been in place since colonial times. Private members from both sides of Parliament have also introduced bills to push for UCC implementation, with some calling for greater consultation with minority communities before enacting such laws. The BJP-led government has continued its efforts towards implementing UCC and is still pushing for its passage despite facing resistance from certain political parties due to cultural and religious differences among communities in India.
UCC seeks to create a uniform civil code that would govern the personal matters of all citizens, regardless of their religious views. This would replace the current laws governing marriage and divorce, which are based on Sharia law and Hindu Code Bill. The UCC would make laws that are applicable to all religions in India and ensure the constitutional rights of citizens while taking into account their religious views. The principal historic goals of UCC can be seen as part of Modi’s vision for India as he has set out places for its implementation. Marriage, divorce, adoption and inheritance in India need to be properly regulated by a universal law which is why UCC needs to be implemented. The effects of this could potentially be felt within an hour as more uniformity and equality is brought about through the shared legal system.
The UCC in India was introduced with the Hindu Code Bills in 1956, supplanting the separate laws of various religious communities. This allowed for the reformatting of personal laws, permitting different religious communities to have their own civil laws. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and other religions were affected by this in different ways. For example, Hindus were no longer permitted to practice polygamy, while Sikhs and Buddhists gained access to their own succession acts. In addition to this, Portuguese law was also supplanted in certain states such as Gujarat due to various historical influences from the Mughal and British eras. Since India gained independence from the British Raj in 1947, there has been a legal pluralism that has emerged amongst the different sects of people living within India. This includes those of different religions and those who are part of separate communities such as Gujarat which had previously been governed by its own shastric Hindu law. The introduction of UCC meant that all individuals now had equal rights when it came to matters such as succession and inheritance regardless of their religion or ethnicity. This is especially true for those who were residing within India during the Mughal and British eras as they were not afforded such rights before this legal framework was implemented.
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AUTHORED BY AJAY ADITHIYAA N