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When a marriage and a divorce have almost the same repercussions and the aftermath between a couple, irrespective of the religion they belong to, then why the agitation and the protests? Shouldn’t it be something where the different narratives of multifarious religions and the dissects beneath, should collide and amicably settle with?
The Supreme Court is to hear the matter tomorrow, but what are the hits and the misses so far on the matter? This is a quick read to know about the ‘Uniformity’ that the Uniform Civil Code is aiming at, and then, there are issues with the aim that it directly hits at.
The Uniform Civil Code is being highlighted as the next big agenda that the ruling party is going to undertake or sort of partake from the predecessors. Predecessors? Isn't it something that the party in power brought out of nowhere? Well, Dr. BR Ambedkar (with due consultation and considerations) placed the Uniform Civil Code under the Directive Principles of State Policy because of the fear of the then unaware religious inhibitions. This is 2022, where inhibitions have lost relevance, and logic has taken over. That was just to highlight that the issue isn’t new, and neither are the intentions.
The objective behind the Code is to formulate uniform laws in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption across all religions and religious communities. The UCC comes under Article 44 of the Constitution of India, which states, “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”.
Now, the only questions that should be put forth, is whether the religious scriptures prohibit gender equality and gender justice amongst the diversity that India talks about, and the scriptures presumably aim at?! When a marriage and a divorce have almost the same repercussions and the aftermath between a couple, irrespective of the religion they belong to, then why the agitation and the protests? Shouldn’t it be something where the different narratives of multifarious religions and the dissects beneath, should collide and amicably settle with? When the dignity of women has been the objective of all, then why object now, when the Code specifically brings all under the ambit with a perspective to save and secure dignity?
The strong reasons are not yet known, but the contentions stipulated are, that the personal laws of each religion should be given a primacy. And as Asaduddin Owaisi contends, it is not only discriminatory to Muslims, but also to the Tribal population.
The Britishers and the Regulating Acts of 1772 and 1781 had concurring perspectives, but what is to be noted is that criminal, civil and the evidence acts were thought to have universal applicability, but not marriages and the relevant aspects.
But why would you believe me? You would believe the Courts instead (if you may).
Chief Justice Y.V. Chandrachud in Mohd Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum AIR 1985 SC 945, was of the opinion, “...A common Civil Code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies. No community is likely to bell the cat by making gratuitous concessions on this issue. It is the State which is charged with the duty of securing a uniform civil code for the citizens of the country and, unquestionably; it has the legislative competence to do so. A counsel in the case whispered, somewhat audibly, that legislative competence is one thing, the political courage to use that competence is quite another. We understand the difficulties involved in bringing persons of different faiths and persuasions on a common platform. But, a beginning has to be made is the Constitution is to have any meaning. Inevitably, the role of the reformer has to be assumed by the courts because, it is beyond the endurance of sensitive minds to allow injustice to be suffered when it is so palpable. But piecemeal attempts of courts to bridge that gap between personal laws cannot take the place of a common Civil Code. Justice to all is a far more satisfactory way of dispensing justice than justice from case to case".
Subsequently, in 2015 the Supreme Court very categorically opined that, ‘Separate laws for different communities cannot be accepted. Otherwise, every religion will say it has a right to decide various issues as a matter of its personal law. We don’t agree with this at all. It has to be done through a decree of a court’.
Therefore, with Uttarakhand, which has clearly expressed its intentions on UCC, can we expect the country to decide the same?
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