UNIFORM CIVIL CODE (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     15th January 2024        
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Context: The Defence Minister of India recently stated that Uttarakhand is likely to become the first state in the country to implement a Uniform Civil Code.

Uniform Civil Code

  • About: A 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: 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: After its liberation in 1961, Goa, with a population of just six lakh at that time, retained the Portuguese Civil Code, making it the only state to have a uniform civil code for all religions.


Judicial Pronouncements Associated with UCC

  • In Shah Bano case (1985): SC emphasised the importance of UCC for having a common basis for jurisdiction.
  • Sarla Mudgal Case(1995): SC reiterated the need for a Uniform Civil Code to help national integration by removing ideological contradictions.
  • Shayara Bano v. Union of India (Triple Talaq Case): SC held triple talaq as unconstitutional and un-Islamic, raising the question of the Uniform Civil Code to stop such personal law practices.
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