Related Entries

Wings of Fire
Knowledge superpower by 2020?
Loony Lingo

« IE automation
» Spam statistics

Uniform civil code

In a secular democracy that guarantees religious freedom, can there be a uniform civil code for all religions?

Varsha Bhosle: “Mr Khan, what is your position on the Uniform Civil Code?”.

I used to enjoy reading Ms. Bhosle’s columns till end of last year. Since then, the objectivity that *used* to be there seems lacking. Definitely gone is the focus her old columns had. These days, I read her columns with reservations. Anyhow, this is an important question she asked to a Muslim leader.

One twist in current state of democracy in India is that Consitution dictates uniform civil code must be implemented. Constitution also provides the right to practice any religion. Question to self: Does the Constitution define religion? Due to various factors - the way democracy works is one of them - Muslims (and I believe Christians too) in India get a different civil code. The key word is different. This has been an issue for the followers of India’s majority religion - Hinduism.

Shouldn’t every one in a country be subjected to the same laws? I believe so. However, since India is a democracy, what checks do we have to make sure majority communities views are not enforced upon minorities? This question has created enough problems in 50 years of independence - we tend to be over protective that majority communities complain about minority appeasement. Varsha has a terrific quote:

“Ultimately, following a religion without one’s being founded in common sense, leads only to bloodshed.”

What is my take on this whole issue? Confused! I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know the details on how to read the Constitution. Google reveals Goa: A success story in uniform civil code. I guess a similar notion is the only solution. However, this ultimately boils down to a distant dream, because religions are not based on common sense; but on delegated, intangible and unrealistic perception and expecations.

  1. Since muslims have their own laws, shouldn't India punish them the way it is mentioned in Shariat when they are caught commiting crimes ?

    Posted by: JK on June 16, 2003 08:11 AM
  2. JK, that is one thing I wanted to write, but forgot. I agree with you. I believe in uniform criminal and civil codes. One community can't simply pick and choose what works for them - hell, that is why law is called law :-)

    Posted by: Babu on June 16, 2003 10:37 AM
  3. According to me religion is a law. From time to time in history and from place to place there were various laws which were created to control people. With the times we have to change these laws to suit the current requirements. Not even for once I believe that religion was God made or ANY of the religious books were given or revelead by God. Any one with a little logical mind can understand that. I think the various god-men or prophets were Good, Wise men of their times who knew that the only way to control people was to instill the fear of God in people.

    Common code of conduct should be the religion of modern times.

    Posted by: Jayan on June 19, 2003 12:28 PM
  4. India is a secular country.When India was partiotioned all its citizen were bind by the one and single constitution and law. All the citizens are first Indians and then the religion is a private affair. Then why there shoul exist different religious law in the country when we have to leave in the same country. Different religious law bring only the divide between differnt religions. It is a factor of discrimination among the people of India. I
    do not understand that why Congress if not favouring Uniform civil Code, if such a party considers it to be a secular party. Secular country is a country where there is no differances between the laws followed by people of different religions.On the other hand Muslims will only gain if Uniform Civil Code will be implemented. The position of women's to some extent will be improved. So implementing Uniform Civil code is just a one step to bridging the divide between the different religions that exist in the mind of people of India.

    Posted by: Divya on July 26, 2003 12:23 AM
  5. We are the Indian first and then Muslim, Hindu and etc. The Uniform Civil Code will certainly make this happen and lets hope the innocents will not be marginalised on the basis of religion and we might avoid another Gujrat as well. Lets live happily together as Indian for the development and progress of our great country. My vote is in the favour of UCC.

    Posted by: Kaunain Shahidi on July 30, 2003 07:21 AM
  6. Religion is an essential dimension of Man. It is also ingrained inthe human culture. The transcendent dimension has been expressed in human terms. In a secular nation all religions have their place. It is not a nation without God, but a nation with religious pluralism. God is not human projection, but it is human discovery of a Creator. Revelation confirms and deepens this dimension. Now regarding the laws: Religion should help to unite the people in the secular nation. If it divides, there is something wrong with the people who profess that religion. If the laws harm the common good, they should be amended. Common Civil Code, if possible, but without harming the religions and the religious people... More study is required before it is approved by the Supreme Court. May God help us to do that!

    Posted by: Ivo C.Souza on August 3, 2003 01:36 PM
  7. Religion is essentially a personal matter and when constitution makers framed laws and constitution they had in mind interest of everyone not any particular caste/religion uniform civil code is practised for all we should not suspect our supreme body of court and respect it. uniform civil code will only function properly when we indians irrespective of religion/caste consider themselves as citixen and equal.

    Posted by: munmun on August 4, 2003 11:23 PM
  8. UCC is essential to the country like India, where diffent religious people live together but very few community taking advantage of political play in the name of religion and causing major problem in the country which doesn't have meaning and use to any community. Yes ! your religion is only inside the your personal life not to be distrube the outside world. To make people feel all or same UCC is important step weather it makes changes in people's attitude or not but it should be in law one fine day law proves its improtance in this world

    Posted by: Rama.Rao on August 8, 2003 08:54 AM
  9. uniform civil code, it so diffculty in present condetion. the muslim peoples
    they Where think about it was
    opposetion view of khuranic verses

    Posted by: fasalu rahman on August 13, 2003 04:12 AM
  10. In secular country like India everybody has to be judged under common law. According to me Uniform Civil Code will definitely help muslims especially women to improve their condition. Only thing is that positive attitue is needed to accept all the changes that r bound to happen after accepting UCC.

    Posted by: Shweta Deshpande on August 23, 2003 06:03 AM
  11. well can u tell why our constitution makers havent implemented uniform civl code.

    Posted by: yashartha on September 10, 2003 12:56 PM
  12. uniform civil code is essentia
    l in pluralistic India.God didnot create laws.We made and implemented them.Every indian should not be subjected to different laws depending upon his or her own religion.Hence implementing the uniform civil code would produce rich dividends for future india.

    Posted by: Arunmohan on September 12, 2003 07:12 AM
  13. I am not clear as to what all aspects of one's personal life are covered by "Uniform Civil Code". Without understanding this it is difficult to comment whether it would be beneficial to everyone.Will someone clarify?

    If this is explained with clarity in an article its reference would do.

    Posted by: C S Jacob on December 23, 2003 05:15 PM
  14. what is the need of civil code it is an utter waste

    Posted by: tomalex on January 5, 2004 11:25 AM
  15. I am in facour of Uniform Civil Code. it is for th ebetterment of the society at large, for the benefit of muslim women, for the removal of the discrimination, for the unity and integrity and uniformity in personal laws.

    Posted by: sangeeta taak on February 11, 2004 04:11 AM
  16. I as a citizen of india,strongly recommend implementation of UCC.Scanning the parliamentry system and the socio-economic framework prevailing inside india ,throws an exception to the fundamental motives of implementing Britisherers like system.Since we have got a huge cultural and geographical diversities,we could better have a system as one existing in US.But unfortunately,our destiny deciders forced us to bear the british system and the
    result is before u.In such a tough time of this country,when religious fraternity has lost its meaning,politics has changed its definition and the law is failing to provide the fundamental rights of equality to all,only UCC seems to show a gleam of hope so better clutch it and let GOD bless us.Future is ours.

    Posted by: Siddhartha Shivam on April 5, 2004 01:05 PM
  17. i think, before mindlessly embarking on a hardbound pro-UCC argument that is based on very general lines like that of a religiously unified country etc,. it is imperative that the social and legal milieu of the nation be understood in its entirety. firstly, the Constitution makers, by deliberately providing for State duty to provide a Uniform Civil Code in the DIRECTIVE pRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY which are not justiciable, was only leaving the field open for such an eventuality. this means that any attempt at formulating some kind of uniform civil code mustn necessarily come from the initiative of the people themselves. the State cannot be authorised to impose upon its people a code which may be acceptable to some, yet not so to others.
    secondly, this becomes all the more significant in the context of a country like India, where religious and social diversity is so tremendous abd wide-spread, that any such attempt by the State cannot in any way escape huge criticism and opposition from certain circles, and their displeasure.

    It must be remembered that the Constitution guarantees very expessly the right to religion in several places. to begin with, there is of course the sacrosanct Preamble which clearly embodies the spirit of secularism in the words "Liberty of thought, belief, faith & worship"...the stand of the state therefore ougght to be one of tolerance. it is expected to be neutral in all matters pertaining to religion, and to protect all without interfering in any of them.
    the state therefore cannot be permitted to adopt a uniform civil code claiming it to be the much needed religion of today's "modern times", for that would be going against the very intent of the Constitution. moreover, the freedom of conscience and free profession, practise and propogation of religion is also guaranteed in Article 25. Judicial pronouncements have declared time and again that the right extends not only to to the practice of the faith, but also the rituals and observances which constitute an indispensable and an integral part of religion.

    in the face of this, how then can one say that the UCC would help solve all problems of communalism, religious discord etc. Much to the contrary, i think it would only further incense the already tensed situation unnecessarily. the UCC is matter of sentiment for a majority of the Muslim Community. the Shariat is almost equivalent to the law of the God for them. any ucc which seeks to override the long-standing inviolability of the Divine Law cannot be expected to come through smoothly, and without rough friction from the community. instead of encroaching upon these sentiments of communities, the emphasis of the state could well be on ensuring UNIFORM JUSTICE, rather than harping on the need for a Uniform CILVIL Code!!

    Posted by: Anu on April 7, 2004 09:49 PM
  18. I appreciate the need for a unified laws for every citizens in our country. One of the prime motivation was that there is a lot of inconsistency between different laws viz; under what law (property) a person will be governed incase of his conversion to another religion.Secondly, our personal laws are heavily biased towards the women(in caseof muslim; talaq(unilateral)).Before actually implementing ucc. We should strive to make laws relating to women efective,such as Dowry law, Domestic violence law....other wise it would definetly give a wrong signal to the minority that the debate of UCC is nothing but a well defined conspiracy to belittle there identity.

    Posted by: mushtaq on July 4, 2004 09:24 PM
  19. UCC is a must for the unity of a nation like India.I was dissapointed with the BJP government for failing to fulfill their promise of implementing UCC.For the past 50 yrs UCC is in cold storage(thanks to our politians),Though Supreme Court favours to implement UCC,Our government is not bothered to implement UCC.Is there any rule or law which will enable Supreme Court to direct our government to implement UCC.Can anyone having Law BackGround suggests how to raise a legal fight to force government to implement UCC.

    Posted by: AK on September 16, 2004 03:59 AM