Uniform Civil Code: Promoting Secularism or Threatening Religious Rights?

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Image Source- Google| Image By-The Indian Express                                                      

The central government is planning to introduce the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill in this monsoon session, which is one of the important election manifestos of the government. There is controversy surrounding the UCC, as critics argue that it is dominated by Hindu personal laws, which could override the laws of other religions and raise concerns about secularism.

What is the UCC?

The UCC is a codified set of laws that will guide all Indian citizens under common civil laws in matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, inheritance, custody, guardianship, and more. Currently, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains follow Hindu civil laws, while Muslims and Christians are guided by Sharia and Christian laws, respectively. The implementation of the UCC would mean that all religions would follow a common law. Previously, Goa had its own Goan UCC.

What are the benefits of the UCC?

After implementing the UCC, all religions would follow a codified uniform law, promoting true secularism. The codified laws would be an amalgamation of good ideas from all personal laws, eliminating harmful practices such as polygamy, Nikah halala, and laws that suppress women. The UCC is a positive step towards safeguarding women’s rights and should not be treated as merely an election manifesto. Practices like the Hindu undivided family would also be abolished after the implementation of the UCC.

Controversies surrounding the UCC

Critics argue that the UCC is primarily aimed at Hinduizing the laws. They believe that the UCC would undermine the rights of minorities, such as the laws pertaining to tribal communities and other minority groups, which would be suppressed by dominant Hindu laws. They fear that it would create conflicts in diverse India and suppress its cultural uniqueness and diversity. Some also argue that without proper awareness, women and minorities may not receive the full benefits of the UCC. The Law Commission has recommended focusing on reforming specific personal laws, such as triple talaq and women’s property rights, rather than implementing the UCC in its entirety.

                Image Source- Google| Image By-BBC

Why Muslim Community is Opposing the UCC?

Some Muslim critics argue that our constitution safeguards the rights of all religions, allowing them to practice their own laws. However, the implementation of a uniform civil code would require all religions to follow the same civil laws, potentially violating their fundamental rights. The UCC is also seen as a threat to the pluralism and multiculturalism of diverse India, as Muslims would no longer be able to practice certain Islamic practices, such as polygamy, triple talaq, and Nikah halala.

Has the UCC been successful in other countries?

As of now, many countries such as Tunisia, Senegal, and France follow uniform civil code laws, and they have been successful. In India, Goa is the only state that has implemented the UCC.

“Article Credit: Archana Barshilia”

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