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Uniform Civil Code: The Milestone in Consolidating the Unity of India

Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is one of the most happening debates of independent India which gained prominence after the Shah Bano v/s Mohd Ahmed Khan case. UCC proposes to replace the personal laws based on the religious scriptures with a common governing law for every citizen. Here, the common law for the entire country would be applicable for all religious communities to carry out their personal affairs including marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, etc. Apart from accommodating the aspirations of the young population, UCC will help to support the national integration. UCC also becomes a necessity to bypass the contentious issue of reform of existing personal laws.

In article 44 of the Indian Constitution, there is a provision for Uniform Civil Code as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a UCC throughout the territory of India”. The founding fathers put UCC under Directive Principles and not under Fundamental Rights in the Constitution as they believed that India was too diverse and multi-ethnic and it will be awkward to impose UCC. They believed that accepting UCC as governing law should be a personal choice of individuals, guided by individual and group values dictated by religion, customs, social practices, and economic conditions. As a result of moral vacillation, the intention to translate the idea of UCC into policy never materialized, and it became a subject of populism and petty politics,

Even after 74 years of independence, Hindus, Muslims and Christians of the country are not governed by one law. Some parts of the country even follow some aspects of Portuguese and the French laws. In comparison to Hindus and Christians, Muslims continue to manifest personal laws as an indispensable part of their socio-religious identity and as a part of their right to live as a religious minority. However, this minority vs majority debate is time and again used by persons/parties with political interests to stoke tension. This subsequently weakens the country from within and is also used by enemy countries for their advantage. UCC has the potential to do away with this weakness which is rotting the society from within.

Keeping the Unity and Integrity of nation above everything else and also that India faces hostile neighbours on almost all sides, UCC becomes necessary to create a sense of oneness irrespective of religion. The task may be difficult but as history has shown us- “Humans resist change; revolutionary step is required to bring about a radical change in the society”.

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