Around 1.3 billion population, 1652 spoken mother tongues, 9 recognized religions, sounds like too many complexities for a country to hold on to! But interestingly enough, the “Unnatural Nation” has managed to pull off its survival since centuries up to now, although with a few impediments. But one trouble served by this unique blend of caste, culture, creed, and religion is the seemingly easy task to treat each and every citizen with utmost equal standards legally as well as socially. However, a possible solution to this problem might be the highly debated ‘Uniform Civil Code(UCC)’.
The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” Understanding in terms of a Layman, UCC would mean having a uniform set of civil laws with no influence of any particular religion and cover areas like marriage, divorce, maintenance, inheritance, adoption, and a succession of property. There are some ongoing arguments hovering over the successful adoption of UCC including misinformation about the same, negative perception of religious communities and multiple political propaganda. Instead of focusing on the negative let’s focus on the positive and discuss some pointers why we do need a uniform civil code.
- It will help to unite India in its truest sense: The adoption of UCC set of rules will help us to understand the real meaning of ‘Unity in Diversity’ by dodging differential treatment by the law of certain religious communities and bringing all of us under the umbrella of just one simplified law.
- Getting rid of personal laws: The personal laws of various religions have some dogmatic and unjustifiable ruling mechanism which many a time gives encouragement to practices like polygamy, honor killing, female foeticide and are not in congruence with human rights. Replacing these laws with a unified civil code will help counter these inhuman practices.
- Achieving gender equality: Most of the personal laws are biased toward the male section of the community and the counterpart sex has been suffering due to this for a long time. Uniform codes are meant so as to treat men, women, transgender sections with utmost equality and due respect. This will, in turn, enhance women participation in all the fields of life.
- Optimum utilization of the ‘Demographic Dividend’ phenomenon: India has more than half of its population with less than 25 years of age, basically the youth. Their social attitude, aspirations are molded with the changing modern outlook governed by the criteria of equality. Fair and just laws would encourage each one of us to take our country to next level.
- Doing away with Vote Bank Politics: If every religion is covered under the same law then the political parties would not have anything to lure people in terms of preferential treatment.
On the lines of the verdict on ‘Triple Talak’ by the Supreme Court, there is nothing wrong in expecting that the Uniform Civil Code would be implemented in the coming times, however, it is important to keep in mind that this would be a gradual process and has got some stumble blocks in the way.
Quoting Conor Oberst’s words, “There’s a lot of optimism in changing scenery, in seeing what’s down the road.”