Should India have a Uniform Civil Code?
Should India have a Uniform Civil Code? This is a question that causes agitation and furious debate everytime it is raised. It is a debate that has been raging for years now. Even the makers of our Constitution thought about it when they wrote it because the Article 44 our Constitution clearly states that :' The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India'. The article is part of the Directive Principles of State Policy and are not binding on the Government. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First we shall define what is a Civil Code. A Civil Code is a systematic compilation of laws designed to comprehensively deal with the core ideas of private law . A typical Civil Code deals with the common fields of law like the law of contracts, torts, property law, family law and law of evidence. Whereas commercial law, corporate law and Civil procedure is usually codified separately.
India is an amalgam of many societies. A majority of the people are Hindus whereas the Muslims form a considerable minority. Other than these, there are sikhs, jews, parsees, jains, buddhists etc. All religions have their own laws. We have 1) the Hindu law (which covers sikhs, jains and buddhists) 2) Muslim Personal Law 3) Christian Personal Law 4) Parsee Civil law. This itself is a blatant violation of the Article 15 of the Constitution which says that 'The state shall not discrimate against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. A Uniform Civil Code will administer the same set of secualr Civil laws for all the religions existing in the state. The Uniform Civil Code will override the people's right to be governed under their own Personal Law based on their religion or ethnicity. Those for a Uniform Civil Code cite national integration as a reason, those against it say it will be a tool to annihilate...
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