Uniform civil code

Proposed law

Uniform civil code

Uniform civil code

What is uniform civil code?

This is laws which will replace all personnel laws like Hindu Marriage Act, a Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, a Christian Marriage Act and a Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act, Special Marriages Act, 1954 Hindu Marriage Act.

These apply to any person who is a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion. There is also a Hindu law and Hindu marriage law .Having a Uniform Civil Code will mean that all these laws will be replaced by a new law which will be applicable for all irrespective of their religions. One nation one law concept is backed by the current Mode government asked the Law Commission to examine the feasibility of bringing about a Uniform civil code.


Uniform civil code applies on the society this will be single set of rules and laws for the society. It will decrease all the complexity of the personel laws.

The various types of personel laws create lots of indecision for people and waste courts time. The proceedings take too much time. Large number of pendency of cases denotes this. But in country like India this is not an easy concept to adopt because of large variations in the society.


Several obstacles remain alive


The first obstacle which the government facing is to make the minorities ready for this. But a large number of minority sections are opposing this move.


Second, while a UCC has remained a wonderful principle, nobody has actually spelt out what this common code will look like. What will be the structure of this law? Is it to take the ‘best’ practices from all religions and, if so, which ones? How would it deal with polygamy not just among Muslims but also Hindus and tribals? What will happen to the tax exemptions and breaks granted to the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)?


One way forward is to look at the UCC in terms of gender reform, a line favoured by many, including myself. But there is a caveat here, too. Can you look at parity of law for all women without first looking at parity between men and women? For instance, says former additional solicitor-general Indira Jaising, will our law-makers consider a concept of shared labour in marriages that would necessarily mean an equal division of assets acquired in the life of a marriage in case of a divorce?


One argument in favour of a status quo and against a UCC is that the courts have in innumerable cases given secular laws precedence over personal, religious codes. In the past 12 months alone, a two-judge bench ruled that Muslim women are entitled to maintenance beyond the iddat (roughly three months) period. It upheld a previous Allahabad high court judgment that “polygamy was not an integral part of religion”. It has questioned why Christian couples must wait for a two-year separation before filing for divorce when it is just one year for others. Earlier still, it gave Muslim women the right to legally adopt children even though this goes against their personal law.


The problem with this line of argument is that it looks at justice on a case-by-case basis. It presupposes also that all minority women have access to lawyers and the courts.


There is another alternative—change from within. Already social organizations within the realm of religion have begun demanding an end to practices such as triple talaq. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has not, so far, responded favourably even though an online petition by the Bharatiya Mahila Muslim Andolan demanding a ban has already attracted over 50,000 signatures.


And yet, there can be no turning back, no drowning out of voices demanding justice. This Eid, the three-century old Aishbagh Eidgah in Lucknow opened its doors to women to offer prayers for the first time in its history. It was a tiny step towards what could be a new beginning.




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