Uniform Civil Code (UCC) recently came into limelight after Chief Justice of India S A Bobde talked about it. In response to this, let us know more about UCC and the current status of it in the country.
Crux of the Matter
What Is UCC?
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) comes under Article 44 of the Constitution of India. According to UCC, there should only be one law in India, for matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption and this should be applicable to all religious communities.
- Part IV of Article 44 states: “The state shall endeavour to secure the citizen a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India”.
- Article 44 corresponds with the Directive Principles of State Policy
- While drafting the Constitution, B R Ambedkar wanted to implement UCC but due to lack of awareness amongst people and objection from religious groups, it was made volutary and included this is Article 44.
Article 37 of the Constitution says that although there should be Uniform Civil Code in the country, its implementation is not mandatory.
Uniform Civil Code In Goa
- However, Goa is the only Indian state that has a Uniform Civil Code but it is known as the common family law.
- The code was introduced in the 19th century by the Portuguese as the Portuguese Civil Code.
- Hence, in Goa, irrespective of the religion, everyone is bound by a common law related to marriage, succession, divorce.
Current Status Of UCC
- The demand for UCC became a part of BJP’s election manifesto in 1998.
- Bill to implement it across India was proposed in 2019 and 2020 but was not introduced in the parliament.
- In March 2021, The Supreme Court asked for a reply from the central government on the need for gender and religion neutral inheritance and succession laws which comes under Unifrom Civil Code.
CJI Bobde’s Comment On Goa’s Uniform Civil Code
Outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI), S A Bobde applauding the Uniform Civil Code of Goa said:
“Goa has what Constitution framers envisaged for India- a Uniform Civil Code. And I have had the great privilege of administering justice under that Code. It applies in marriage and succession, governing all Goans irrespective of religious affiliations.”
- For maintaining law and order and communal harmony, British didn’t interfere with religious customs in the country. So Uniform Civil Code was never implemented. But Goa was a part of Portuguese India, so it has UCC.
- The Islamic religious laws taken from the Quran and Hadith is called Sharia Law.
- The Special Marriage Act, 1954, was implemented for anyone who wanted to have their marriage outside the realm of any specific religious personal law. The first such Act was the Act III of 1872, introduced by British jurist Henry Sumner Maine.