Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Uniform Civil Code:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Context:

Amid the row over wearing hijab in schools and colleges, Union Minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh has said the Uniform Civil Code is the “need of the hour” and it should be discussed both in Parliament and in society.

 

What’s the issue?

The Hijab row started in December end when a few students started coming to a government pre-university college in Udupi wearing Hijab. To protest against it, some Hindu students turned up wearing saffron scarves.

  • The row spread to other educational institutions in different parts of the State, and the protests took a violent turn at some places earlier this week, prompting the government to declare three-day holiday for the institutions.
  • The Hijab ban issue has refused to die down as Muslim girls are adamant on wearing hijab to college.
  • Muslim clerics argue that Hijab ban violates right to freedom of religion enshrined in Constitution.

 

Background:

Whereas the founders of the Constitution in Article 44 in Part IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy had hoped and expected that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territories of India, till date no action has been taken in this regard.

 

What is the uniform civil code?

A generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.

 

What the constitution says?

Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them.

 

India needs a Uniform Civil Code for the following reasons:

  • A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  • Gender justice: The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
  • Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.

 

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters – Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act etc. States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and therefore in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws.

 

Why is UCC not desirable at this point?

  • Secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.
  • Cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that Goa has a Uniform Civil Code?

  • Goa’s Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 is basically an alien code given by the Portuguese.
  • Goa’s Civil Code has four parts, dealing with civil capacity, acquisition of rights, right to property, and the breach of rights and remedies.
  • It begins in the name of God and Dom Luis, King of Portugal and Algarves.
  • The Code has survived by virtue of Section 5(1) of the Goa, Daman and Diu Administration Act, 1962 that permitted its continuance.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UCC.
  2. What are DPSPs.
  3. Enforcement of DPSPs.
  4. Shah Bano case is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss why is UCC not desirable for India at this point?

Sources: Indian Express.