“EXPLORING THE UNIFORM CIVIL CODE: Path to Equality or Controversy?”

Author- Payal Shende, Dr.Ambedkar College, Nagpur. 


Indian system is the oldest democracy in the world and its democratic nature is strongest we have seen till date, this too in a very diverse country like India a nation of 1.3 billion people; UCC is a long-debated topic in the Indian system. Several social workers, Leaders in the Assembly have talk about UCC, in fact it was first included in Article 44 of the Constitution of India Uniform-Civil-Code (The UCC) suggests to discard the personal laws of the scriptures, and customs of every major religious community currently in force in India, and provide for a codified, common set of rules for a common set of acts – marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. for every citizen. Among the several reasons advanced by way of advocacy is that it will work towards achieving equality and justice, national integration, and going to restore gender discrimination inherent in various personal laws. At the same time, the opponents argue that it can stir a controversy by encroaching upon the cultural and religious diversity of the country and can infringe upon the rights of the minority communities.

This study looks at the historical setting of the UCC, considers the pros and cons of its execution and examines the socio- political implications of having it. Such a paper also attempts to determine whether it’s right to legislate UCC in India grounded on legal precedents, socio-cultural impacts, and transnational relative fabrics in order to give an each around view as to whether such a legal text would further gender equivalency or it would continue driving controversies in India.

 Keywords UCC, uniform civil law, article 44, constitution, gender discrimination, religious community, minority, socio- political, personal laws, national integration.


India has a plan to introduce new personal laws that affect all citizens inversely regardless of their religion, coitus, or background. This idea originates from the urge to have a single set of civil laws governing different issues like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption rather than the customary practices from religious books or traditions in force at present.

The foundation for the UCC within the Indian legal framework is established in the Constitution of India, specifically in Article 44, which states:

“The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

Article 44 is part of the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV of the Indian Constitution), are fundamental in guiding the governance of the country. These principles are intended to impact the making of laws and the administration of the state to ensure justice, social welfare, and indifferent distribution of resources. 

The UCC should be adopted in order to annihilate gender biasness present in several particular laws. Problems similar as triple talaq, polygamy, and unjust treatment on inheritance specifically harm the rights of women. Accordingly, there’s a compelling reason for introducing a Uniform Civil law (UCC).

 One of the major challenges relating to enforcing a UCC is the fear among minority communities that administering the UCC law will erode religious and cultural diversity. India being a diverse country calls for cultural pluralism to be admired and accommodated with care. 

While some political parties explosively endorse for it as a means to promote equality and secularism, others oppose it, fearing it might alienate minority communities and disturb the social fabric.

 Some experts recommend phased implementation of the unification of particular laws, starting with the reform of existing ones so as to make them more fair and also slowly progressing to establish a unified law. This could help reduce opposition and pave the way for a further flawless transfiguration.

India’s readiness for a UCC isn’t an absolute state but a spectrum. In one hand, there exists strong legal and moral reasons supporting the implementation of the UCC on one hand; however, the most distinct challenges in terms of social, political, and cultural aspects must first be addressed. One of the critical way towards enforcing it successfully entails taking a thoughtful, phased, inclusive method characterized by numerous dialogues and consensus building phases.

In recent times, The Cabinet of Uttarakhand has sanctioned the final draft of the UCC, which proposes uniform civil laws for all communities in the state. Suggestions have been made to outlaw both child marriage and polygamy under the UCC Uttarakhand 2024 Bill. Crucial features of the bill include equal property rights for both sons and daughters, abolition of the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children, equal property rights upon death plus addition of adopted and biological children.


1)  In the case of  Jose Paulo Coutinho vs. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira and Ors  the Hon’ble Supreme Court arbitrated on whether succession to property of Goan set up outside Goa in India would be governed by Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 as applicable in State of Goa or Indian succession Act, 1925.

The Supreme Court noted that so far no endeavor has been made to formulate a Uniform Civil Code which will be applicable for all citizens in the country even though this has been called for by the court itself. Besides, it said that Goa is a good illustration of one of the Indian states that has uniform civil codes applying to every person within it except for specific rights protection mechanisms.

2) The case of  Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano Begum (1985), The Supreme Court gave verdict in favour of Shah Bano by applying section 125 of Indian Criminal Code and it is applied to all citizens irrespective of religion. Then Chief Justice, Y.V Chandrachud, observed that a Common Civil Code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law. And so, the court directed Parliament to frame a UCC.

However, instead of it showing support for that decision court decision satisfied not the government. Instead, the government passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce)Act, 1986 as the Supreme Court judgement in Shah Bano Case was nullified and let the Muslim personal law govern divorce matters. The act stated that the Muslim woman was entitled to maintenance only for the period of three months after divorce, that is, iddat and then shifted her maintenance to her relatives or Wakf Board.

3) In the case of  Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India 1995 AIR 1531, the Supreme Court once again stressed the necessity of a UCC, pointing out the issues arising from conflicting personal laws and advocating for a uniform legal framework to promote national unity and gender equality.

“In order that every Indian irrespective of his faith may have a right to matrimonial remedies, and therefore it is necessary that there should be one law governing all marriages, this clearly means that if personal law does not support such concept then it can be abrogated/provided with a universal matrimonial law. Therefore, none can be allowed to plead against the implementation of uniform code for all citizenry in this country.”  

The legislations were the authority which allowed individual customs to run, but they can be replaced by common code. In other words every citizen of India must support uniformity in law which is applicable to all religions and is devoid of geographical location.

4)  The  Pannalal Bansilal and others vs. State of A.P.  , The Supreme Court of India maintained its earlier position to the effect that “while considerable merit attaches to a uniform code, its enactment in one fell swoop might well go counter to national unity and integrity. In a democracy governed by rule of law, gradual progressive change and order should be brought about. Making law or amendment to a law is a slow process and the legislature attempts to remedy where the need is felt most acute.”

5)  John Vallamattom and Ors. v. Union of India , the Indian Supreme Court said it was not compulsory for religious and personal law to be related. There is no question that marriage, succession and related secular charter matters cannot be brought within the guarantee enshrined under Articles 25 and Article 26 of the Constitution. Any legislation which brings succession and the like matters of secular character within the ambit of Articles 25 and 26 is suspect.

6) In the case of ABC vs. State (NCT of Delhi)  , the Hon’ble Supreme Court had exercised the ѕіnсere power of the parens patriae on behalf of several helpless children in India born out of wedlock and abandoned by their fathers. Consequently, the Apex court granted an unmarried mother the right to be appointed as the sole guardian without the deserter father being notified. As а result, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has protected unwed mothers аgаіnst nonconformists.

Christian unmarried women in India do not benefit from their motherhood as Hindu ones do. Hindu women hold the status of being mothers by virtue of their maternity alone, without the requirement of any notice to the putative fathers .This further emphasizes that even though the directive principles visualize one civil law, it is yet to be mentioned in our constitution


India is a nation in which the rule of law prevails, even though personal beliefs are making religion dominate over the law which in turn means that the state should come up with a way forward. A Uniform Civil Code is a good law that will guarantee that people have equal access to justice under the country’s civil and family laws.

The proof of the concept and necessity is based on its potentials for ensuring equality, gender justice and national integration. It is an issue that still raises questions but a UCC implementation in India can be supported by a legal framework, judicial endorsements and comparative international experiences.

According to my opinion, UCC would be an ideal instrument to safeguard the people’s rights in an ideal state. Its adoption would be piece-meal legislation. There arises a need for a Common Civil Code for all its citizens regardless of their religion in line with their fundamental and constitutional rights as the times go by. UCC would also enhance secularism and national integration.

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