The State shall endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. Article 44 of Indian Constitution.
January 26, 1950, was the date when India enforced its constitution. The constitution included Article 44 which specified that all governments shall strive for a uniform civil code (UCC) for its citizens. This article is present in Directive principles chapter of the Constitution.
Uniform Civil Code (UCC) proposes to replace personal laws of major religious groups based on religion, caste, creed, scriptures, beliefs, etc., with a common code, governing all citizens equally. Articulating an uniform code would terminate all other personal laws which govern major religious groups.
India is today under a party with an ideology, which is called Hindutva. The BJP has successfully included the demand for a uniform civil code in its manifesto towards the 2014 general elections and relentlessly raises it as a potent political issue to woo voters. However, other parties such as Congress, CPI(M), Aam Aadmi Party have not made their stand amply clear.
The demand for uniform civil code accelerated when the Muslim personal laws came under scrutiny. Especially, the demand to ban triple talaq law that dissolves a marriage when the husband says the word ‘talaq’ thrice. This custom is criticised for being unilateral and biased against women, and is banned in 22 countries, including many Arab countries.
However, some religious outfits such as All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) are against banning this law citing the “constitutional right” of assuring the freedom to propagate religion.
However, the centre and judiciary are in favour of repealing this law as they consider this “unconstitutional”. Recently, Allahabad high court had called the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by saying the word ‘talaq’ three successive times ‘unconstitutional’ and called it a violation of the rights of Muslim women.
In India, protests to ban triple talaq is continuously growing and hence, demand for an uniform civil code is arising again. Many researchers and historians argue that if diverse customs, rituals and practices concerning the personal lives of Hindus were codified in 1956 through Hindu Code Bill, why can’t their be a common code for every citizen of India.
In my opinion, India is a secular country and hence, a common code for every citizen should be formulated irrespective of religion, caste, creed, scriptures, etc. Any personal law shouldn’t encroach upon inviolable collective values of nation. A common set of law of every individual shall reduce the disparities between religions.