Article 44 of Part IV in the Indian Constitution introduces the concept of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), envisioning a single, uniform set of laws applicable to all citizens across India. The objective is to establish consistent regulations for religious communities, encompassing aspects like marriage, abandonment, divorce, and inheritance. However, the diverse religious, ethnic, and racial landscape of India poses substantial challenges to the implementation of uniform laws.

Initiated in 1955, the codification of Hindu personal laws responded to the Supreme Court’s call to engage stakeholders before enacting laws. This stands in contrast to the absence of such a system in the 1950s.The passing of Hindu Bill was totally depends on the winning elections. The arrival of the East India Company saw the initial application of English common law to English subjects, but disputes in India prompted the application of both Brahman and Sharia laws to resolve conflicts.

By 1862, the establishment of High Courts in various regions of India led to the creation of laws specific to different religions, such as the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 and the Muslim Personal Law Operation Act of 1937. Although initially proposed in the drafting commission under Article 35, the UCC was later moved to the Directive Principles of State Policy and ultimately incorporated into Article 44 during the Constitution’s enactment.

Legal precedents, including the State of Bombay v. Narasu Appa Mali (1952) and Shayara Bano v. Union of India (2017), have addressed issues related to personal laws. In the former case, a man was penalized for bigamy, challenging the law on religious grounds. In the latter case, the Supreme Court declared Talaq-e-biddat unconstitutional, emphasizing that it was not an essential religious practice.

In 2023, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) sought the enactment of the UCC, but the Supreme Court maintained that legislating the UCC was the prerogative of the legislature. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed support for a uniform civil code, aligning with the BJP’s election promises. The 22nd Law Commission sought opinions on the UCC, while the 21st Law Commission, in 2018, considered it unnecessary and undesirable at that stage.

The author personally advocates for the UCC’s inclusion in the constitution. Using the example of Hindu marriage as a sacred sacrament, the author emphasizes the need to filter particular laws, declaring discriminatory practices unconstitutional. The call for uniformity is not about homogenizing rituals but ensuring fairness and equality under the law. The author underscores the importance of thoughtful legislation that respects diversity and individual rights in introducing the UCC.

Author:- Moni kumari, a Student of
Lloyd law college

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