Uniform Civil Code In India CJI Lauds Goa’s UCC – Free PDF Download


What has happened?

  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde on Saturday (March 27) lauded Goa’s Uniform Civil Code, and encouraged “intellectuals” indulging in “academic talk” to visit the state to learn more about it.
  • Goa has what Constitutional framers envisaged for India — a Uniform Civil Code,” the CJI said.
  • “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 affiliation.
  • I have heard a lot of academic talk about the Uniform Civil Code. I would request all those intellectuals to simply come here and learn the administration of justice to know what it turns out to be,” he said.

In 2019

  • Earlier in September 2019, in a matter relating to properties of a Goan, the Supreme Court had described Goa as a “shining example” with a Uniform Civil Code, and observed that-
  • The founders of the Constitution had “hoped and expected” a Uniform Civil Code for India but there has been no attempt at framing one.

What is a Uniform Civil Code?

  • A Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities,
  • In their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.
  • Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
  • Since it comes under DPSP, it’s not justiciable
  • (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
  • Fundamental Rights are enforceable in a court of law.
  • While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act, etc.
  • States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and, therefore, in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws.
  • Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
  • If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List.
  • But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.
  • Last year, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.

Is there one common personal law for any religious community?

  • All Hindus of the country are not governed by one law, nor are all Muslims or all Christians.
  • Not only British legal traditions, even those of the Portuguese and the French remain operative in some parts.
  • Even on registration of marriage among Muslims, laws differ from place to place.
  • In the Northeast, there are more than 200 tribes with their own varied customary laws.
  • The Constitution itself protects local customs in Nagaland.
  • Similar protections are enjoyed by Meghalaya and Mizoram. Even reformed Hindu law, in spite of codification, protects customary practices.

Why not UCC in Fundamental rights?

  • In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter.
  • The matter was settled by a vote.
  • By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of Fundamental Rights and
  • Therefore the Uniform Civil Code was made less important than freedom of religion.

View of Muslim members in the Constituent Assembly?

  • Some members sought to immunise Muslim Personal Law from state regulation.
  • Mohammed Ismail, who thrice tried unsuccessfully to get Muslim Personal Law exempted from Article 44, said a secular state should not interfere with the personal law of people.
  • Hussain Imam questioned whether there could ever be uniformity of personal laws in a diverse country like India.
  • Dr B R Ambedkar said “no government can use its provisions in a way that would force the Muslims to revolt”.
  • Alladi Krishnaswami, who was in favour of a Uniform Civil Code, conceded that it would be unwise to enact Uniform Civil Code ignoring strong opposition from any community.
  • Gender justice was not mentioned in these debates.

Common code for Hindus?

  • In June 1948, Rajendra Prasad, president of the Constituent Assembly, warnedJawaharlal Nehru that to introduce “basic changes” in personal law was to impose “Progressive ideas” of a “microscopic minority” on the Hindu community as a whole.

Others opposed to reforms in Hindu law included

  • Sardar Patel, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, M A Ayyangar,
  • M M Malaviya and Kailash Nath Katju.
  • When the debate on the Hindu Code Bill took place in
  • December 1949, 23 of 28 speakers opposed
  • On September 15, 1951, President Prasad threatened to use his powers of returning the Bill to Parliament or vetoing it.
  • Ambedkar eventually had to resign.
  • Nehru agreed to trifurcation of the Code into separate Acts and diluted several provisions.
  1. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,
  2. Hindu Succession Act, 1956,
  3. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956,
  4. Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956

Q) Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. Fundamental Duties in our constitution is justiciable.
  2. The DPSP has been taken from the constitution of Britain.
  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 & 2
  4. None of the above




Latest Burning Issues | Free PDF