Polity and Governance

Uniform Civil Code

Uniform Civil Code 
•BJP in its manifesto of 2019 has promised Uniform Civil Code in India
•Article 44 of the Constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy.
•BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonizing them with the modern times.
•A uniform civil code means a common set of laws governing personal matter of all citizens of the country irrespective of religion.
Article 44 of the Directive principles of the Constitution specify, "The State shall endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.“
•The objective of this law should be to address the discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise diverse cultural practices.
•Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly debates stated that a UCC is desirable but for the moment should remain voluntary.
 
Challenges
•Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are not binding on State
•Most people in India are still deeply religious
•All religions have their own personal laws
•Changing the personal laws may create emotional issues in societies
•The model law for UCC is difficult to be drafted to create synthesis of all personal laws
 
Why does it matter?
•The codification of personal laws have historically generated protests.
•The Hindu Code Bill, one of the foremost pieces of social legislation, had triggered enormous opposition when implemented.
•The debate on the UCC is centred on the argument to replace individual personal customs and practices of marriage, divorce, adoption and successions with a common code.
•Those in favour of one code argue that it will end discrimination in religions.
•Detractors contend that it will rob the nation of its religious diversity and violate the fundamental right to practise religion enshrined in Article 25 and Article 29 of the Constitution.
 
Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion
 
Article 29: Protection of interests of minorities
•Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same
 
Way forward
•Draft the UCC law, but don’t force it on people
•Let the personal laws of each religion be gradually modified to adopt the model UCC
•Let the people get convinced that UCC would make their life better
•Majority’s personal law should not be forced in UCC
•Minorities view must be considered while drafting UCC and they should not feel isolation or suppression.



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