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Posted Oct 2017
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~~In 1840s, the British Government had formed the uniform laws related to crimes, evidences and contract but they intentionally left the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims so that they continue to practice their religion which is based on customs and scriptures. In those days many people raises voice against this but British government ignored the concept of uniform personal laws.
After the independence the Constituent Assembly, which was set up to frame our constitution had both types of members – those who are interested to reform the society by adoption of a Uniform Civil Code (such as Dr. Ambedkar) and those, mainly Muslim representatives, who wished to live with personal laws. This results as incorporation of Article 44 in our constitution as a DPSP only which is non-justifiable in nature. Which says that “The State shall Endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”, this was merely a symbol , and as a DPSP it is not enforceable in court of law.
However, various bills was passed to codify the laws applicable to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists by abolishing bigamy and polygamy, allowing right to divorce and inheritance to women and result in various acts such as Hindu Marriage Act, Minority and Guardianship Act, Succession Act etc.
Uniform civil code is beneficial to society but then also it is not existed in India, the reason behind that is there is chance of infringement of the fundamental right to freedom of religion mentioned in Article 25 of Indian Constitution which directly empowers all citizens including minority citizens to have personal laws based on tenets of their respective religions i.e. right to freely profess, practice and propogate religion. Because of this only uniform civil code cannot be forcefully imposed on the people.
The need for Uniform Civil Code is mainly because it will gradually eliminate the gender injustice which is a problem that has very deep roots in Indian society. Various landmark judgments relating to this situation are present which clear the present scenario of uniform civil code. In Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shan Bano Begum Case, Supreme Court held that a uniform civil code may reduce the discrimination faced by the women from the personal laws. But the Muslim conservatives saw it as an attempt to weaken their cultural identity and resultant as Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, which applies to everyone regardless of caste, creed, or religion. It ruled that Shah Bano be given maintenance money, similar to alimony. In recent cases SC says that as Uniform Civil Code is subject of state list, separate states are free to enforce this at their own risk but at present time it couldn’t possible to apply at the center level.
Posted Oct 2017
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