Uniform Civil Code a Welcome Move

Article 44 of the Constitution of India says: ‘The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.’This was made clear by the makers of the Constitution of India more than 7 decades ago, yet it is still not fulfilled and is being debated at various fora about its utility and applicability. Thus, it is long overdue and should have been implemented in the early fifties. Then there would not have been any need to introduce the Hindu Code Bill. In fact, no nation can become strong and cohesive if it contains different laws and rules for different communities or persons living in the country. Our Constitution speaks of equality and non-discrimination on the ground of caste, creed or sex yet when we find that the discrimination continues in many ways and sometimes it is used as a tool by some people for their ulterior goals. The most unfortunate part of it is that while equality is demanded but the Uniform Civil Code is opposed on the ground of personal religious freedom. Its opposition is neither in the interest of the country nor of the people. Thus, it will be in the interest of the country and all citizens that the Uniform Civil Code should be made applicable across the country without wasting further time.
Why at all the common civil code ?
A question is often posed why should there be Uniform Civil Code? As it is stated in the outset the common civil code under its umbrella will bring about cohesiveness to different sections of society and will ease the problem of law and order. Unity in diversity is the characteristic of India but diversity does not mean different rules, regulations and laws for different communities. For example- the law of marriage and divorce should be the same but how the marriage is solemnised in different parts of the country is nobody’s business because that does not create any problem for the State and the same can be maintained as a unique feature.
A Uniform Civil Code means that there has to be uniformity in marriage, divorce, guardianship acts and in matters of inheritance. At present, we find that while the women of all religions enjoy complete freedom the women community of the Muslim community are highly discriminated against their male counterparts. It is as clear as daylight that when the Uniform Civil Code is made applicable across the country there will be no need for the Hindu Code Bill, Hindu Marriage Act, Christian Marriage Act or even the Special Marriage Act etc. Once marriage is solemnised each individual will have the liberty to enjoy uniformity; while at present a Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Persian, or Christian man or woman do have to follow the rules of the marriage and a man or a woman cannot divorce his or her spouse at his or her sweet will without any solid rhymes or reasons as specified in the Act but, on the other hand. Muslim women are placed in a highly disadvantageous position as compared to Muslim men. Muslim women cannot even think of divorcing a man as per Sharia law, the most they can think of is ‘Khula’ i.e., separation, which is well-nigh impossible in the society they live in. However, this freedom is available to Muslim males, which is mostly misused by them. Although Talaq- e – Biddat i.e., pronouncing talaq three times in one go has been prohibited by the Supreme Court of India. It says that Talaq- e- Biddat is illegal yet the pronouncement of talaq by stating it three times in three months is still holding the ground. This will certainly go away once Uniform Civil Code is adopted and it will render massive relief to Muslim women.
Age of Marriage
Men and women in all communities get to grow up at certain age, then there is no point to have different age groups for marriage in different communities. For example, while Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Persian males can marry only after attaining the age of 21 years and women can marry only after the age of 18 years, Muslim men do not have any such age bar. It is ridiculous to allow women to marry immediately after attaining the age of puberty which can be between 10 years to 12 or 13 years. This is highly discriminatory against Muslim women which needs to be done away with.
Likewise, it hardly needs to be said that monogamy should be strictly adhered to by all communities. Presently, while all other communities have to follow monogamy, Any violation of it invites the wrath of Section 494 of the IPC, which says: ‘Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife.—Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine’. What is most shocking, is that Muslim women have to bear the brunt of living with four women, if and when their male counterpart decides so. There is no merit in the logic that only a minuscule minority of Muslim men go into polygamy. But why such absurd and laughable liberty should be given to any section of society?
Guardianship and Adoption:
Discrimination is visible among Muslims and other communities. While women of all communities enjoy the privilege of adopting a child, it is denied to the women of the Muslim community. The guardianship right is also discriminatory, and it violates fundamental rights. And therefore, must be done away with. Such anomalies are found in the case of inheritance and distribution of property and maintenance. Such discriminations make a mockery of the laws of the country.
Therefore, Uniform Civil Code should be enacted without any further waiting, and it should be rigorously followed. There should be no objection from any side, particularly when there’s no objection to Uniform Criminal Code, which is welcomed with open arms even by Muslims, who do not want Sharia to be imposed.