In the name of religion, caste, sex, India has been fragmented over centuries. Having diverse religions, India has different sets of laws governing different people regarding marriage, divorce and succession depending on religious affiliations. Thus, laws on marriage, divorce and succession pertaining to a Muslim person is completely different from those governing the Hindu or Christian communities.
While the Hindu and the Christian communities have their own set of family laws codified by the parliament, the Muslim community still follow the Shariat. All other laws governing the Indian people example, The Indian Penal Code, The Criminal Procedure code and various other special statutes give equal rights and protection to all citizens irrespective of their religion. However, when it comes to managing religious affairs, the law is different for different communities.
The Uniform Civil Code bridges these differences and brings everyone to an equal platform. It propagates a single code for regulating marriage, divorce and succession for all irrespective of religion and personal laws, ensuring equality in the long run. While the personal laws of various communities have been reformed, the Muslim law remains unchanged. This divergence creates the space for a single uniform code for all. It has also been the most controversial code in recent history.
UCC finds support amongst liberals and women groups as it aspires to promote gender equality. The opponents are vociferous about the code interfering with religious practices and compromising minorities’ freedom. The question arises, is how abiding the law of the land goes against anyone’s religious principles or minority sentiments. Having a Uniform Civil Code does not impose the practice of rituals of one religion on another it just reiterates the requirement for a single code equal for all, for managing social ethics.
This paper seeks to delve into the relevance of this code, examining its advantages and disadvantages from a legal and social perspective while striving to uphold the goals set in Art. 44 of the constitution. More so in light of the controversial Shah Bano case and Triple Talaq judgement 2018 that have surfaced in the wake of the Uniform Civil Code.