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Uniform Civil Code: The right time is now

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sranjan
Businessman with wide range of interests.

The three biggest obstacles against the UCC are Muslims, leftists and liberals. All three have now decided that India, as a secular country should not have any law that discriminates between religions in the aftermath of CAA. The government should take cognizance of this at once. This is the ripe moment to unveil Islamists and show their true colour, to the brain washed Hindu liberals and divisive left (no hope). The so called Dalit “leaders”, very well know that Muslims would not give up their seats for them in minority education institutes yet they constantly berate their fellow Hindus for easy money. This may put a stop to their funding.

HISTORY

The Second Law Commission Report 1835 was to separate the personal laws of the various religions and communities of India and keep it out of the proposed codification. Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 reflected that when the British government took over the administration of the India after displacing the East India Company in the wake of the 1857 revolt, promising absolute non-interference in religious matters.

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“We do strictly charge and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us that they abstain from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure.”

It meant the clear separation of the two spheres of law. One governed by the British and Anglo-Indian law, in crime, land relations, laws of contract and evidence, which applied equally to every citizen irrespective of religion. Second the personal laws of the people on matters such as inheritance, succession, marriage and religious ceremonies and so on.

HINDU LAW COMMITTEE AND CODIFYING HINDU LAW 1941

Also known as Benegal Narsing Rau Committee recommended a codified Hindu law. The committee after reviewing THE HINDU WOMEN’S RIGHTS TO PROPERTY ACT 1937 recommended a civil code of marriage and succession for Hindus. In March 1942, it presented the government with two draft bills regarding Hindu succession and marriage. It was kept pending until the Rau Committee was revived and reconstituted once more in 1944. It sent its report to the Indian Parliament with a draft Bill in February, 1947.

The Rau Committee report dealt comprehensively with succession including maintenance, marriage, divorce, minority, guardianship and adoption. As procedure, the draft went before a select committee again, this time chaired by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. It came up for discussion in February 1951. Endless discussions continued, the Hindu Code Bill lapsed and it was re-submitted in 1952.

UCC and its implementation were added in Article 44 as a Directive Principle Of State Policy as a mere gesture to indicate the willingness of Parliament to consider the issue of a uniform civil code at some later point in time specifying that “The State shall endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” This decision to include the UCC only as a non-justiciable Directive Principle rather than as a justiciable Article shows the lack of morality of the then government.

The house was divided back then also, like it is now between those who wanted to reform the society by adopting Uniform Civil Code and others, basically muslim representatives who perpetuated personal laws. The proponents of Uniform Civil Code were also vehemently opposed by the minority communities in the Constituent Assembly. It’s incorporation in Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable in the court and nothing politically could eventually be enforced because minorities mainly Muslims felt that their personal laws are violated or abrogated by it. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar resigned from the Government of India on the issue of the Uniform Civil Code. In his resignation speech he bared his disappointment that he felt when the original intent and thrust of the Code was gradually diluted. He held special grievances against the Prime Minister Nehru, who chose to make compromises. In his vigorous speech he said:

“To leave inequality between class and class, between sex and sex, which is the soul of Hindu Society untouched and to go on passing legislation relating to economic problems, is to make a farce of our Constitution and to build a palace on a dung heap? This is the significance I attached to the Hindu Code. It is for its sake that I stayed on notwithstanding my differences.”

A series of Bills were then passed collectively known as Hindu Code Bill (covers Buddhist, Sikhs, Jains) as well as different religious denominations of Hindus which allows right to divorce and inheritance to women, made caste irrelevant to marriage and abolished bigamy and polygamy.

THE FOUR HINDU ACTS

1: The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955:

To amend and codify laws relating to marriage among Hindus and others. Others in this context, the Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. Besides the amendment and codification of law it introduced separation and divorce which was earlier non-existent in Hindu Sastra. This enactment brought uniformity of law for all sections of Hindus including any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh religion.

The Act provided for conditions under which a Hindu marriage was to be solemnised, registration of such marriages, the restitution of conjugal rights as well as judicial separation, the provision for divorces, punishment for divorces etc.

2: The Hindu Succession Act, 1956:

To amend and codify the law relating to intestate or unwilled succession, among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. This Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and applies to persons governed by all schools of religious thoughts.

The Hindu woman’s limited estate was abolished by the Act. Any property possessed by a Hindu female is to be held by her as her absolute property and she is given full power to deal with it and dispose it of according to her will. Some parts of this Act were amended in 2005 by the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. It revised rules on coparcenary property, giving daughters of the deceased equal rights with sons with same liabilities and disabilities. The amendment furthers equal rights between males and females in the legal system.

3: The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956:

It enhanced Guardians and Wards Act of 1890. This Act specifically served to define guardianship relationships between adults and minors, as well as between people of all ages and their respective property. No concept of “stepfather” and “stepmother”

4: The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. 1956:

This Act dealt specifically with the legal process of adopting children by a Hindu adult, as well as the legal obligations of a Hindu to provide “maintenance” to various family members including, but not limited to, his wife or wives, parents, and in-laws.

What changes will UCC bring and the need for it:

Illegitimate children of Persons who are Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews do not get the benefit of maintenance. The acts have been made applicable only to Hindus and all those considered under the umbrella term of Hindus, including Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.

As the Acts applied only to religions under the umbrella term ‘Hindu’, women from the other religions remained victims. The Muslim women did not get the benefit of inheritance of agricultural land.

Under Muslim law, maintenance is known as ‘Nafqah’. It is denied mostly under the reason that the wife has disobeyed the reasonable commands of her husband. When a divorced woman has no relatives and does not have enough means to pay the maintenance, the State Waqf Board can choose pay the maintenance but not always. The ‘liability’ of husband to pay the maintenance thus restricts to the period of the iddah (3-4 months) only. The women may also receive a sum of mahr agreed to be paid to her at the time of her marriage or at any time thereafter according to Muslim law.

It will end discrimination against majority in their religious matters. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act 1951 allows state governments to take over temples and control their vast properties & assets.

Some facts:

  • Hindu’s places of worship can be controlled by state governments but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Hindu’s places of worship can be brought under government control but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Hindu’s places of worship can be managed by government but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Hindus places of worship’s administration, including religious rituals can be run by government but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Hindu’s places of worship’s assests can be can be disposed or sold by the government but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Hindu’s places worship’s income are taxed but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Hindu’s place of worship income can be used for other purposes but not of Muslims and Christians.
  • Educational institutions run by religious bodies of Hindus can not discriminate in hiring of teachers, workers and in student admissions while receiving government funds but muslims and Christians run institutions have the power to discriminate anything and everything.

Different laws for minority schools and “majority” schools:

Even those minority schools which receive money from the government in the form of grants/aid, need not comply with the regulations of the Right to Education Act. The government has made even private schools that receive no money from the government under RTE regulations to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children from economically weaker sections, but has exempted minority schools. Hindu schools receive no such exemption.

Different Tax laws:

Hindu Undivided Families can only save taxes where as Muslims are exempted from paying stamps duty of any amount under gift deed.

UCC will:

Give equal status to all citizens irrespective of their religion, class, caste, gender etc.

It will lead to reduction in litigation emanating from multiple personal laws.

Bring gender equality. It will bring both men and women at par.

Promote the national integration. All Indian citizens are equal before the court of law i.e. the criminal laws, civil law and same personal laws for all.

End the issue of constant reform of existing personal laws. Presence of so many laws creates confusion, complexity and inconsistencies in the adjudication of personal matters, at times leading to delayed justice or no justice.

Stop the politicization of issues of discrimination, concessions or special privileges enjoyed by others over the majority on the basis of their particular religious personal laws.

Nehru accepted that the Bill was incomplete, but was reluctant to change, fearing the anger of other communities.

How “uniform” is it in Goa

The Family Laws of Goa are uniform in all respects is a misconception. “Concordat ” i.e. the Treaty signed between the King of Portugal and the Pope in 1940 permits the Catholics to get married in Church but simultaneously takes away the Jurisdiction of the Civil Courts in matters of separation of spouses, annulment of Marriage and Divorce and further proceeds to make our constitutionally created High Court of Judicature a mere post office performing the onerous task of conveying the decrees of the Canonical Courts to the Civil Registrars for recording the dissolution of marriage in the marriage Register maintained by the Civil Registrar. The law vests no power in the High Court to examine the Decrees of Canonical Courts on the touchstone of Constitutional validity or Public Policy.

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sranjan
Businessman with wide range of interests.

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