Author: Esha Chatterjee, student of Birla Global University


The Uniform Civil Code is currently a widely discussed topic across the nation. Everyone who is capable of doing so is involved in this. This is a subject of recurring political debates. Organizations affiliated with Islam and Hinduism are debating this issue.  While many Muslim organizations are speaking out against UCC because they believe it will interfere with their traditions and beliefs, many Hindu organizations have backed it since it is anti-Islamic and will outlaw practices like polygamy and Nikah Halala. Political propagandists are to blame for the awful comments that are being made about UCC.Due to a lack of public awareness, there are very few discussions and debates on the substantive reasons “why UCC should be implemented.” For this reason, it is critical to comprehend UCC, its legal underpinnings, and its difficulties.

The Uniform Civil Code is discussed in brief in this document. The article discusses the troubling elements that led to the call for UCC’s implementation. The personal laws of every religion, including tribal rules, are briefly covered in this text. The paper examines how India’s legal system has evolved, leading to the reformation of personal laws. It also briefly touches on the Hindu Code Bill’s implementation and the changes it brought about. The paper discusses judicial activism related to personal legislation in brief. The article provides some clarification on the Goa civil code, which has led to a substantial rise in demand for UCC. 


Article 44 of the Indian Constitution directs the state to strive towards developing a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in order to unify its varied society. This guiding principle has generated much discussion between proponents of legal universalism and those who stand out for the rights of minorities. As cases such as the Shah Bano case demonstrate, personal status law amendments often become tense arenas of conflict between secularism, gender justice, and identity politics. For a long time, India’s complex legal system was characterized by a multitude of personal laws and a common criminal code.

But when it comes to this issue, the political reluctance and incapacity to call a spade a spade have lasted for over 40 years. The Supreme Court and multiple High Courts have advised the governments to enforce a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The courts have strongly advocated for a UCC in numerous cases, including the Shah Bano case (1985), which dealt with maintenance for Muslim women who have divorced, the Jordan Diengdeh case (1985), which looked into the Christian Succession Act, the Sarla Mudgal case (1995), which opposed the use of deceptive Islamic conversion for polygamy, and the John Vallamattom case (2013), which addressed succession rights in light of the recent Delhi High Court verdict. While it is common knowledge that males and girls must be at least 18 and 21, respectively, before getting married, this is not always the case for all people. Muslim law allows children to marry each other as long as Sharia officials approve of the union. More criticism has been leveled at the Christian Divorce Act’s arbitrary separation period. Requiring Christians to wait two years before filing for an amicable divorce is oppressive and unfair. It takes a very long time for someone to live alone for two years. The statute still calls for a two-year separation period, even if the Supreme Court reduced this time to one year in some circumstances in a particular ruling.

UCC and personal laws: 

It will also provide the legislature the authority to update them as needed. For example, the Parliament revised the Hindu Succession Act in 2005 to grant daughters the same coparcenary rights to their father’s property that a son enjoys because the Act is codified.

Muslim marriages are governed by the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986. Relatively few couples, meanwhile, expressly state in an affidavit that they are subject to CrPC Section 125.

It’s a common misconception disseminated to frighten minorities that the UCC would totally abolish their customary laws and culture. UCC will function as a single civil code for all citizens and as a codified system of personal laws for all religions. It is thought that the UCC in India will feature distinct portions for each religion to endorse the current traditions around marriage, divorce, child support, and heirship. For example, in respect to lawful marriages, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 recognizes local customs and supports ceremonies such as Saptpadi or Kanyadaan. It is impossible for the provisions to violate fundamental rights because of the legislation’s passage.

Concerns between the Hindu-Muslim majority and the minority are unrelated to UCC. This is beautifully highlighted by the latest ruling from the Delhi High Court. A couple from the Meena tribe, who have been deemed exempt from the Hindu Marriage Act’s criteria, got into a fight once. The court noted the following when deciding whether the Hindu Marriage Act extended to community members who had been married in accordance with Hindu customs: “Codified statutes and laws provide for different protections to parties against any unregulated practises from being adopted.”The Uniform Civil Code offers the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Parsi communities a structural response to prejudice through implementing changes. Alternatively, we may characterize it as a secular action. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956, and the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 were passed, to which the Nehru government faced strong opposition. The actions made at that time were decisive and have now shown their long-term benefits. Without a doubt, women’s status in Indian culture has greatly improved as a result of the codified Hindu rules.

Apart from tackling gender inequity, the Uniform Civil Code also deals with a nation’s approach to managing its diversity. India’s liberal school of thought strikes a balance between respecting every culture equally and preserving some cultures while still permitting religious freedom. It has also been successful in protecting the weak within minority groups and altering majority practices.

Case Analysis:

Union of India v. Sarla Mudgal, & others

A significant case that brought attention to the necessity of the Uniform Civil Code was the Sarla Mudgal case.

There are primarily two petitioners in this matter.

Petitioner 1: Sarla Mudgal’s Kalyani, an NGO that formerly worked to improve the status of women.

Meena Mathur, the second petitioner

Meena Mathur had three children with Jeetendra Mathur after they were married. After falling in love with Fatima, Jeetendra Mathur converted to Islam, left his previous wife behind, and moved on. J. Mathur had one child with his second wife when they were living together. After some while, Mathur converted once more converting to Hinduism and moving in with Meena Mathur. When the case was brought before the SC, Justice Kuldeep Singh gave it much consideration. The court determined that a married individual cannot change their religion prior to the issuance of a divorce decision under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and that doing so will result in punishment under section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.

Judge Kuldeep Singh instructed the Union’s Law Minister Secretary to respond to a question about what the Union or central government had done regarding the UCC within three months of the judgement being rendered.

Mrs. Mary Roy Etc. vs State Of Kerala & Ors

Mary Roy, a Syrian Catholic, lived in an area where the Indian succession act was not applicable before moving to an area where the Travancore succession act of 1916 was applicable. As a result, she was denied her right over the property, and she filed a case against her brothers in the lower court of Kerala, which dismissed it. The case in question is a well-known case involving the Indian succession act of 1925. Mary Roy is the mother of the well-known author Arundhati Roy. After being brought before the High Court, the case made its way to the Supreme Court, where Mary Roy prevailed. Acts such as the Travancore succession act 1916 are superfluous, as the Supreme Court ruled that the Indian succession legislation shall include all Christians residing in India.

John Vallamattom & Anr vs Union Of India

John Vallamattom, the petitioner, contended before the Supreme Court that the Indian succession act’s section 118 is discriminatory. According to Section 118, a person cannot give their property to a religious charitable trust while their close relative or relatives are still living. This section of the statute breaches article 14 of the constitution since it does not describe the wife as a “close relative.” Section 118 of the Indian Succession Act was later overturned by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered the urgent necessity for a uniform Civil Code in issuing its ruling.

Mrs. Pragati Varghese And Etc. vs Cyril George Varghese And Etc.

The petitioner and her spouse, the case’s defendant, were at odds about something.

She filed for a divorce with the Supreme Court using the Indian Divorce Act. The act’s Section 10 addresses divorce grounds. The Supreme Court noted that section 10 is a discriminatory provision based on gender in this particular case. The clause said that a husband may file for divorce if his spouse commits adultery; however, the wife must provide evidence of both adultery and domestic abuse on her part in order to file for divorce. Section 10 of the statute was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The Indian Divorce Act was revised in 2001 by the central government. A second case was brought in the supreme court regarding Section 10 clause (a) of the Act, which states that a couple may only obtain a divorce with permission after two years of judicial separation.

Noor Saba Khatoon vs Mohd. Quasim

The court ruled that the spouse would support his male child until he turns 18 and his female child until she gets married.

Goa Civil Code

A Uniform Civil Code should be enacted immediately throughout the nation, and the concerned Civil Code is supporting this proposal. There is only one state that has a standard Civil Code: Goa. Some people question why there isn’t a protest about the same issue happening in any other part of the nation if no one is experiencing problems while living in Goa.

It must be acknowledged that the Goa Uniform Civil Code is not as standardized as it appears. Bigamy is permitted for gentile Hindus in accordance with The Code of Gentile Hindu Customs and Usages. 

Here, the mild Hindus refer to those Hindus who reject both Jewish and Christian ideas. If a Hindu woman who is not of Hindu descent is unable to conceive a male child by the age of thirty and a girl by the age of twenty-five, then the Hindu community can practice bigamy.

The Catholics have also been granted an exemption under the unified Civil Code of Goa. What the Catholics Are Goa’s civil law does not provide divorce options for marriages performed in churches. As per the unified Goan Civil Code, the property will be split equally between the husband and the spouse. Muslims residing in Goa are prohibited from engaging in triple talaq, polygamy, or Nikah Halala; doing so will be prosecuted.


Discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, sex, and creed will end with the implementation of UCC. Women’s empowerment can be secured with the passage of UCC. UCC will aid in the creation of a secular Indian society by guaranteeing the repeal of several discriminatory legislation found in all personal laws, regardless of faith. Although there are difficulties with the Uniform Civil Code, it will aid in eliminating the complexity associated with different laws.UCC is facing certain difficulties as it puts the law into practice. Hindu tax application, the most important question legislators must address before enacting UCC is divided families. The country’s numerous tribal laws as well as the customs of different religions are making it difficult to apply UCC. The misunderstanding held by the nation’s minority that the UCC will violate their laws and religious beliefs have made it extremely difficult for the parliament to pass the UCC. In a way, Article 25, which guarantees religious freedom, also turned into a detour in the process of putting the UCC into practice. Therefore, when implementing the UCC across the nation, the parliament must make sure that the parties concerned in this topic are consistent with the parliament.


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  • Noor Saba Khatoon vs Mohd. Quasim AIR1997SC3280
  • Mrs. Pragati Varghese And Etc. vs Cyril George Varghese And Etc. AIR 1997 Bom 349
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  •  Anon, (2022). Mrs. Mary Roy vs. the State of Kerala › The Legal Lock. [online] Available at: https://thelegallock.com/mrs-mary-roy-vs-the-state-of-kerala [Accessed 20 Dec. 2022].
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