Uniform Civil Code (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Polity)

News-CRUX-10     18th August 2023        

Context: The 156-year-old, 647-page code cuts across religions and has laws that govern everything from gender equality in marriage to personal inheritance. Amid talk of a UCC for the country, the Goa code is being touted as a model.

  • It was a strange demand. F E Noronha had got a call from the Cabeca de Casal, an administrator appointed to make an inventory of assets for partition in his maternal family, asking for his mother’s dowry certificate.

About Uniform Civil Code

  • A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) refers to a a common set of personal laws to be followed by the citizens, irrespective of religion, in matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption.
  • Origin of UCC: The UCC's roots trace to colonial India, as the British government's 1835 report highlighted the importance of consistent laws for crimes, evidence, and contracts, excluding the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims.
  • Source: Under Article 44, the State is bound by a constitutional mandate to endeavour to universalize and secularize personal laws, throughout the Indian territory.
  • Objective: To address the discrimination against vulnerable groups and replace the system of fragmented personal laws, that are segregated at present on the basis of religious beliefs like the Hindu code bill, Shariat law, and others, into one Uniform Code.
  • Goa is the only state in India that has a uniform civil code regardless of religion, gender and caste.
  • In Shah Bano case (1985), SC emphasised the importance of UCC for having a common basis for jurisdiction.
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