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

News-CRUX-10     5th February 2024        

Context: The Uttarakhand Assembly is likely to pass the State’s Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill during its four­day­long session this week.

Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

  • Meaning: The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) calls for the formulation of one law for India, which would be applicable to all religious communities in matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption. 
  • Article 44: Of the Constitution, under Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
  • 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.
  • History of Uniform Civil Code

oDuring their rule in Goa and Daman & Diu, the Portuguese separately codified the local customs of each of these territories.

oAfter liberating the territories in 1961 and integrating them into a Union Territory, the Indian government declared that the Portuguese laws, including the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, would continue until amended or repealed by a competent authority.

  • Demand of having a UCC in recent times: The demand for a UCC in recent times came to the fore in the judgment pronounced in the Shah Bano Case in 1985, more than three decades after the Constitution was drafted.

Initiation of Uttarakhand UCC

  • Formation of Expert Committee: In June 2022, the Uttarakhand government established an expert committee led by former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai to explore avenues for the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
  • Committee's Mandate and Delay: Despite setting a deadline for the committee to submit its findings by November 2022, extensions were granted repeatedly. This was despite the Chief Minister's announcement in June the previous year about the readiness of a draft UCC.
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