The Supreme Court has asked the central government to come to a conclusion regarding framing and implementing the Uniform Civil Code. So the question that ranges in our mind is what this uniform civil code is all about???? Is it some lengthy judgment process of Supreme Court or something else???
First, let’s try to understand the basic structure of old India-
So let’s get back to the time when Britishers came to India. When Britishers tried to learn more about Indian, they got to know that Indian were so orthodoxy in religious matters.
Although Britishers had made tons of changes in India but mostly they didn’t prefer to interfere in the religious matter of Indians as they knew Indian won’t tolerate encroachment upon their personal beliefs no matter even if they were rightly intended. So Britishers chose the safe way. They adopted a liberal attitude toward religion which helped them to establish their vast kingdom.
They allowed different personal laws for different communities to determine their religious matters and customs. Hindus, Muslims Parsis, and Christians got their version of the civil code that controlled marriages, inheritance, divorce, etc. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists came under Hindu law whereas Muslims came under Shariyat & Christian came under separate Church laws.
Later on, when our forefathers were writing constitution, they were faced with a variety of terrible laws based on bad religious interpretation and bad ideas of the 19th century. In fact, in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, our founding fathers wrote their dream of bringing whole of India under a common civil code and putting an end to these discriminatory religious laws.
So, what is Uniform Civil Code?
This is a law which will unilaterally applicable on entire India. It will create a common framework for modern laws that will be in betterment of all sections of society.
But it was the only reformation in the Hindu act while other religions were allowed to keep their old personal religious laws, which were highly biased and discriminatory. In fact, most of them are still anti-woman. Example a Muslim woman still has to live up with polygamy (A Muslim can have as many wives he wishes), unilateral divorce (if a Muslim man wants a divorce he just says three times ‘talaq’ while when a Muslim woman needs a divorce, she needs to go to court) and restricted of access to alimony or inheritance (a divorce Muslim woman can’t get regular alimony from her ex-husband). Really discriminatory, isn’t it??? Same orthodoxy laws are also prevalent in Hindus and Christians, which needed to go away.
What is Shah Bano controversy?
Shah Bano was a 60 year old Muslim woman who was divorced by her husband. Her husband married a younger woman. The time she got divorced she had 5 children whom she had to look after.
Muslim law doesn’t allow maintenance to a divorced woman, so she filed a petition for alimony and maintenance in court. The Supreme Court ruled in her favour and passed a masterpiece judgment, which gave the right to a Muslim woman of maintenance on a monthly basis.
But this judgment was not taken normally and considered a right approach by the court to protect someone’s right to live.
In fact, it created uproar in the Muslim community as they fond this judgment as the encroachment upon their religious matter. Soon this judgment was overturned by a legislation passed by the parliament with full of majority (as most politicians don’t want to make angry to their Muslim voters and destroy their vote bank). The act was known as Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. This act was passed to overturn the Supreme Court judgment.
This incident made us realized that how orthodoxy Muslims and affiliated political groups had manipulated Islam and overturned the decision of the Supreme Court. It left us with countless questions to ponder on. Such kind of discriminations and biasness are prevalent almost in every religion. So let’s eliminate it. Let’s make a common framework where everyone gets the equal right. I am sure it will be a good idea.
Why uniform civil code is needed now?
The reform process, which was started in 1956 by reforming Hindu act is not applicable to anyone except Hindu. So what about Muslims, Christians? What about the unfair triple talaq system which a rational Muslim won’t allow, or polygamy system? To end these prejudices we need to implement the uniform civil code. So scrap old laws and adopt new is the only option remained now.
So what is the problem? Let’s pass this law and make India a better country. Is it so simple?
Hell no!!!!! There are tons of misconceptions about Uniform civil code. Let’s have a look at the main issues and find out the rational side.
A-Uniform Civil Code is imposition of Hinduism and majoritarian view.
Oh, hell not. If you think so just keep your rotten mentality aside. It will be a neutral law which will be applicable to everyone and it will have nothing to do with religion. You won’t need to burn your corpse if you are in a practice of cremating it. So get relaxed.
B-It will interfere in religious matters of Minority and take away their religious freedom.
Absolutely crap!!!! Freedom of religion for everyone is granted as a Fundamental right in our constitution and no law in India can override our fundamental rights. So just don’t think immature.
What would be the benefits to implementing Uniform civil code?
A-It will end confusion in the legal system – Think about the current situation.
Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Tribals-all have their own personal law. This multiplicity of laws is problematic and creates much problems in adjudication of issues. Rule of Hinduism doesn’t apply to Islam and vice versa. Many of personal laws like tribal laws or khap laws are not codified and having legal sanctity which make it difficult to deal with. So better get away with these all outdated unfair laws and make a modern and rational law which will be in favour of everyone.
B–It will reduce the burden on the legal system-
Different personal laws for different communities creates unnecessary burden on the legal system. Bringing a Uniform Civil code would reduce that. It’s simple!!!
C-It will promote true secularism and national unity
Single personal law for all Indians would promote unity. It will also make us a true secular country.
To be a true secular country we have to get away with the laws based on religion. Under Uniform Civil Code, all Indians will truly be considered equally regardless of their religions.
D- It will end gender injustice.
The progress of women is most important for any community and country. To empowering them, we need to eliminate orthodoxy practices like polygamy. Under Uniform Civil code, Monogamy should be mandated on all Indians. A Muslim woman too can get the right to have maintenance. Also, many outdated provisions of Christian and Hindu laws which are discriminatory against women will also be eliminated.
F-It will help end vote bank politics
Of course it will end vote bank politics. It will be a huge blot on those politicians who boasts on these outdated religious practices and consider themselves as the protector or religion. Now they won’t get vote in the name of pseudo protection of religious interest.
So final thought, do we really need a Uniform Civil code?
Yeah! we need it at any damn cost. It will make changes in our views and thoughts. The Directive Principles of state policy under the Constitution of India also state that the State shall pass a Uniform Civil Code. Every modern nation which has truly embraced ‘Secularism’ has a Uniform Civil Code because it creates true equality and egalitarianism. Most of the discriminatory practices will have to go no matter what it costs.
(All images are taken for representational purpose. Not intended to poke fun or misuse.)