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Uniform Civil Code (UCC) again became a burning issue in India after Uttarakhand Assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code bill. 

Uniform Civil Code is one of the promises of the BJP’s Manifesto. After completion of promises like construction of Ayodhya Ram Mandir and removal of Article 370 from the Constitution, people are hoping that Modi govt. will definitely fulfil their promise to bring Uniform Civil Code by 2024.

Where is Provision of Universal Civil Code included in the Constitution?

In part 4th of Indian Constitution ‘Directive Principle of State Policy’ from Article 36 to 51, there is provision of Universal Civil Code. Article 44 states that the state should endeavor to implement UCC. However, a DPSP is not enforceable by the court. These principles depend on the will of the state.

What is Uniform Civil Code?

Universal Civil Code means that Civil law is applicable on all Citizens of India. Civil cases include matters like Marriage, Divorce, Inheritance of Property, Rent Agreement and Adoption. In India, criminal laws (laws on rape, murder, theft) are equally applicable to citizens. In India there are mainly 5 personal laws. These are-

  • Hindi Code Bill
  • Muslim Personal Law
  • Christian Personal Law
  • Parsi Personal Law
  • Jewish Personal Law

Christian, Parsi and Jewish Personal Laws have some slight differences in Marriage and Divorce cases. The Succession Act and Guardianship Act are also the same in these religions. The people of these communities can’t adopt a child. So, we will discuss only Hindu Civil Code and Muslim Personal Law in detail.  

What is Hindu Code Bill 1956?

This Bill is applicable to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain. It is divided into four parts which are-

  1. Hindu Marriage Act
  2. Hindu Succession Act
  3. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act
  4. Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act

Let us discuss each part in brief-

a) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955- 

  • The age of the bridegroom should be 21 years and the bride age should be 18 years. However, by the amendment in the Act the age of girl has been increased to 21 years.
  • If the couple wants to get divorced then they have to file a petition in the court. After Judicial judgement passes the petition, they can separate from each other.
  • Bigamy is not allowed in the Hindu Code Bill.
  • There is prohibition on Sapindas marriages. Sapindas marriage means marriage between the cousins.

b) Hindu Succession Act-

  • This act tells us that if a male or female dies without making a will, then his or her property will be divided among heirs.
  • How inheritance property will be divided.

c) Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956-

  • In this it is clearly mentioned that a Hindu wife will be protected by her husband throughout her life. Even after separation it is the duty of the husband to provide financial assistance to the wife called Alimony. The word ‘Maintenance’ in the Act includes provision of food, health, medical care, clothing etc.
  • This Act also mentions what are the conditions for Hindu male or female to adopt a child.
  • A male, who is not a minor, can adopt a son or daughter after the consent of his wife.  
  • Any Hindu female who is not minor and unmarried can adopt a son or daughter.

d) Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956-

 Before looking into the provisions of this Act, let us know about the terms – Guardian and Minor

Guardian– A person who takes care of a minor.

MinorA person who is below 18 years.

  • According to this Act, Guardian of a Minor boy or unmarried girl will be Father, and after him the guardian will be Mother.
  • In the case of a married girl, the guardian of the wife will be the husband.
  • The guardian of an illegitimate boy or unmarried girl will be the mother, and after her the father.
What is Muslim Personal Law?

It is based on Shariat. Muslim Personal Law Application Act came into existence in 1937 by the British. All the civil matters of Muslims like marriage, divorce, succession of property, etc. are solved by the Kazi.

Provisions of marriages in Muslims-

Some provisions of marriages in Muslims are-

  • Marriage is a contract between the coupe according to Muslim Personal Law.
  • Polygamy is allowed where a Muslim man can marry 4 women.
  • At the time of marriage, Haq mehr is written on the Nikahnama (Marriage contract). Haq Mehr is that sum of money which is promised by the husband to be paid to the wife. A female can decide this amount.
  • Nikah Halala- This provision still exists in the Muslim Society. In it women marry another man, get divorced again, and only then she can remarry her former husband.
Provisions of Divorce in Muslims-

In Muslim Law there are different types of divorces but main three types are-

  • Talaq It is started by a male if he does not want to live with his wife.
  • Talaq e-Ahsan In it, the word ‘talaq’ is proclaimed single by the husband.
  • Talaq e-Hasan In it a male pronounces the word ‘talaq’ three times over consecutive three months. After the third and final pronouncement, divorce is finalized between the couple.
  • Talae e-bidatIt is less famous among Muslims. It is known as triple talaq. The word ‘talaq’ is said by a  male in one sentence. The Shia Muslims do not recognize this type of talaq.
  • KhulaKhula is initiated by a female. In this type of divorce there is no need to give Haq Mehr to the wife.
  • MubaratThis type of talaq is taken by the couple with mutual consent.

Muslims can not adopt any child. Therefore, there are no provisions of adoption in the Muslim Personal Law.

Problems in Implementation of UCC-
  • There is too much diversity in Indian society that the people are not ready to compromise with their religious faiths and practices.
  • Some groups who opposed the implementation of UCC say that Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives them Freedom of Religion.
  • People have misconceptions about UCC that it will attack their religious practices.

UCC is very much important to bring uniformity in the Indian legal system. Even the Supreme Court of India from time to time asked the Indian Government to start working on the Uniform Civil Code.

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