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In theory, The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is the first step towards Uniform Civil Code but in practice, its implementation is farcical. Critically Analyze.

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. In theory, The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is the first step towards Uniform Civil Code but in practice, its implementation is farcical. Critically Analyze. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

States such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh framing laws that target inter-faith marriage, the procedural requirements of the Special Marriage Act (SMA) — such as the need to give prior notice, and allowance for ‘objections’ — seem to be undermining its original intent by opening the doors to violent moral policing by vigilante groups.

Key Demand of the question:

To mention as to how SMA, 1954 aims to achieve uniform civil code and analyze the drawbacks in its implementation and attempts to dilute it.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Write about the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 and why it is enacted.

Body:

In the first part of the body. Mention how SMA is a first step towards achieving UCC. Marriage is one thing and religion quite another. If two citizens of India professing different religions wish marry, it is open to them to do so under the SMA which is one of the earliest endeavours towards a UCC. The effect of the SMA is that once marriage is registered under it, your religion’s personal laws won’t apply.

In the next part, mention about the farcical implementation of SMA and the impediments to its implementation.  Giving notice prior to marriage, lack of equality, prone to societal reactions and nuisance of self-proclaimed vigilante groups, lack of protection in inter-faith and inter-caste marriages and anti-conversion laws/ordinances by some states targeted at diluting the law etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to make SMA act hold true to its spirit of liberalism and pluralism.