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Uniform Civil Code – Need of the hour

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Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is again in the news. The 22nd Law Commission of India has decided again to solicit views of public and religious organisations. In 2018, the Law Commission of India released a Consultation Paper on “Reform of Family Law” in which it suggested that the Uniform Civil Code is neither necessary nor desirable at this moment.

Since this consultation paper is now more than three years old, the present Law Commission headed by former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi has decided to invite the views and suggestions of stakeholders afresh.

Uniform Civil Code means a unified set of personal laws that is laws on marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and succession irrespective of one’s religious beliefs. In India, we mostly have uniform laws to govern the citizens. But even after 75 years of Independence no government has able to implement UCC till today because it gets a serious opposition from Muslim Groups and Organisations which threaten to disturb law and order if their demands are not met, and India has majorly seen the governments at Central as well as on the State level which are afraid to lose the Muslim vote bank and can go to any extent for the fullfiment of the same.

Article 44 of the Constitution of India provides for the Uniform Civil Code as Directive Principles of State Policy. But unlike the Fundamental rights, the Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable in the court of law under Article 32 or 226.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has many times referred to Article 44 of The Constitution of India and suggested the Union Government to implement a law in this regard, but the political strategy of the past governments didn’t allow them to take this step as it could cause a serious backlash to them. The Judiciary also faces difficulty in the adjudication of disputes according to different personal laws because many times they seem to contradict or overlap each other.

The people and organisations which oppose the UCC, put forth a view that they will only follow the rule of Sharia as it is an obligation on them by the god. But not a single person till now has demanded for a Criminal Justice System based on Sharia and opposed the Indian Penal Code – 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure -1973 and other various penal laws which do not derive from Sharia and provide for a far less serious punishments.

The concept of Waqf also comes from the Muslim Personal Law which has claimed a total 8,54,509 properties in India spread over more than eight lakh acres of land which can only be used for Islamic Purpose. Waqf Act was first passed by Parliament in 1954. Subsequently it was repealed and a new Waqf Act was passed in 1995 which gave more powers to Waqf Boards. In 2013, this Act was further amended to give unlimited powers to Waqf Boards to snatch anyone’s property, which even could not be challenged in any court of law. In March 2014, just before the commencement of Lok Sabha Elections, the Congress led UPA government gifted 123 prime properties in Delhi to Delhi Waqf Board by using this law.

The Muslim Personal Law breaches the rights of Muslim Women and tortures them both mentally and physically by the various ways, for example Halala, Polygamy. Females don’t get equal share in the property as compared to the males in Muslim Personal Law.

In the end, we can conclude that India desparately needs Uniform Civil Code. The present government should look into this issue seriously and prepare a bill for the same and present it in the Parliament as soon as possible.

All the people who want to contribute in the making of New India should come forward and present their views in front of the Law Commission of India regarding the Uniform Civil Code.

Those who are interested and willing may present their views till 14th July 2023  “click here” button or email at [email protected] to the Law Commission of India. The concerned stakeholders are also at liberty to make their submissions in the form of consultation/ discussion/ working papers on any of the issues pertaining to the Uniform Civil Code to the “Member Secretary, Law Commission of India, 4th Floor, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi– 110 003.” If need be, Commission may call upon any individual or organization for a personal hearing or discussion

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