Why in News:
The Law Commission of India has sought the views and ideas of the public and recognized religious organizations regarding the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
- The 22nd Law Commission recognizes the significance of the UCC and the numerous court rulings related to it. As a result, they have decided to conduct a comprehensive revaluation of the UCC, ensuring a thorough examination of the subject.
- Initially, the 21st Law Commission had examined the matter of the Uniform Civil Code and sought the input of all stakeholders through an appeal and questionnaire.
- The 21st Law Commission issued a consultation paper on “Reforms of Family Law.”
- Considering that more than three years have passed since the issuance of the Consultation Paper and taking into account the subject’s relevance and importance, along with various court orders on the matter, the 22nd Law Commission has deemed it expedient to revisit the subject.
- As a result, the 22nd Law Commission of India has decided to once again solicit the views and ideas of the general public and recognized religious organizations regarding the Uniform Civil Code.
- In 2016, the Ministry of Law and Justice referred the matter of implementing a Uniform Civil Code to the Law Commission for examination.
- The Uniform Civil Code proposes the formulation of a single law to be applicable to all religious communities in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
- The objective of the UCC is to replace the existing system of fragmented personal laws governing interpersonal relationships within different religious communities.
About Uniform Civil Code:
- The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) advocates for the formulation of a single law for India that would apply to all religious communities in matters concerning marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
- The concept dates back to colonial India when the British government recommended uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts. However, they suggested keeping personal laws of Hindus and Muslims outside such codification.
- Towards the end of British rule, an increase in legislation dealing with personal issues prompted the formation of the B N Rau Committee in 1941 to codify Hindu law.
- The Hindu Law Committee recommended a codified Hindu law that would provide equal rights to women, as per scriptures. This recommendation led to the 1937 Act being reviewed, and the committee suggested a civil code of marriage and succession for Hindus.
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is included in the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Article 44 states: “The State shall endeavor to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.”
Need for UCC:
- Uniform Principles: A common code would enable the application of uniform principles regarding marriage, divorce, succession, etc.
- Promotion of Secularism: One set of laws governing personal matters of all citizens, regardless of religion, promotes true secularism.
- Protection of Vulnerable and Women’s Rights: A UCC would protect vulnerable sections of society and ensure gender equality.
- Reduced Discord: A common code could lead to more peaceful living and reduce social discord.
- Prevention of Religion-based Discrimination: A unified law would prevent discrimination based on religion in personal matters.
- Removal of Vote Bank Politics: Opting for the UCC could remove religious-based divisions in the political system.
- Easier Administration: A UCC would simplify the administration of India’s vast population.
- Global Practice of UCC: Many Muslim nations, such as Morocco and Pakistan, have implemented the UCC.
- National Integration: A common civil code fosters national integration by removing conflicting ideologies in personal laws.
- Goa’s Example: Goa is the only state in India that has a uniform civil code, applicable to all, regardless of religion, gender, or caste. It follows a common family law.