Uniform civil code (UCC) is the proposal to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set governing every citizen. These laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance. Article 44 of the Directive Principles in India sets its implementation as duty of the State. In contemporary politics, the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Left support it while the Congress Party and All India Muslim Personal Law Board oppose it. Goa has a common family law, thus being the only Indian state to have a uniform civil code. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 permits any citizen to have a civil marriage outside the realm of any specific religious personal law.
Constitution of India manages the Directive Principles of State Policy, which aren't enforceable by any court, yet which should assume a key part in the administration of the nation, with the administration compelled by a sense of honor to apply these standards in making laws.
The Uniform Civil Code is one of those many contentious topics in Indian politics that can stir up a hornet's nest. But before we take our stands, form opinions over dinner table conversations, and make our personal views known on a public domain, let's understand what the Uniform Civil Code is, and how it can change the lives of Indians.
Mr. Prasad denied that uniform civil code was part of the ideological core of the BJP. The Minister stressed that the government had taken this stand.
“We don’t see it (UCC) just as part of the manifesto. Article 44 is part of our Constitution enjoining UCC. The framers of our Constitution were big leaders like Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Dr Ambedkar; 99 per cent of the founding fathers were of the Congress school of thought and they were clear that we must steadily progress towards a UCC,” he said.
“Any need for an observation on the UCC from our side will emerge only when there is a report from the Law Commission, based on the widest public consultation. It is not fair for some groups to say they will not give their views. It is for groups that boycott to reflect on the kind of language they are using with regard to women’s rights in the 21st Century,” the Law Minister said.
Explaining the Centre’s stand in court recently over the issue of the triple talaq, Mr. Prasad said,“We stated our view when asked by the Supreme Court, in the case of religious practices of other communities, if there is a challenge in court, we will state our position,” he said.
“If you look at the way Hindu personal laws developed, it was in this fashion. Sati was abolished, the age of consent for marriage amended by the Sharda Act, Dowry prohibition laws came in after there were challenges to these practices,” the Minister said. “It also shows, therefore, that evolution of law, consistent with these norms of gender justice is integral to India’s ethos,” he added.