Explained: What is Uniform Civil Code?
New Delhi, Oct 31: French President Emmanuel Macron wants to introduce Uniform Civil Code in France though he hasn't explicitly used the term. Macron wants the French constitution to be above religion.
The implementation of UCC will increase scrutiny of religious communities, their sources of funding and their association.
Few days back, Shiv Sena has stated again that Uniform Civil Code should be implemented in India, while adding that if the Centre brings something like that, then the party will take a decision about it.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the promise of one nation, one law remains, and the chorus for uniform civil code has just got louder.
What is Uniform Civil Code
A Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. UCC will end discrimination in religions.
Is there a provision in Indian constitution for UCC?
The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that "The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India."
The objective of this endeavour should be to address the discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonise diverse cultural practices.
What people think about UCC
The Law Commission of India notes that the tracts of the Constituent Assembly debates reveal a lack of consensus on what a potential uniform civil code would entail.
While many thought the UCC would coexist alongside the personal law systems, others thought that it was to replace the personal law.
There were yet others who believed that the UCC would deny the freedom of religion.
It was this uncertainty that led it to be included in the Directive Principles of State Policy rather than the chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Constitution.
View of Muslim members on UCC?
Mohammed Ismail, who thrice tried unsuccessfully to get Muslim Personal Law exempted from Article 44, said a secular state should not interfere with the personal law of people.
B Pocker Saheb said he had received representations against a common civil code from various organisations, including Hindu organisations.
Hussain Imam questioned whether there could ever be uniformity of personal laws in a diverse country like India.
How Hindu members played UCC
In June 1948, Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly, told Jawaharlal Nehru that to introduce "basic changes" in personal law was to impose "progressive ideas" of a "microscopic minority" on the Hindu community as a whole.
Leaders like Sardar Patel, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, M A Ayyangar, M M Malaviya and Kailash Nath Katju also opposed to reforms in Hindu law.
When the debate on the Hindu Code Bill took place in December 1949, 23 of 28 speakers opposed it.
On September 15, 1951, President Prasad threatened to use his powers of returning the Bill to Parliament or vetoing it. Nehru eventually agreed to trifurcation of the Code into separate Acts and diluted several provisions.