Examining the Feasibility of a Uniform Civil Code in India

Yagya Bharadwaj
Amity Law School, Noida, India

Volume III, Issue IV, 2020

The tale of Uniform Civil Code in India is as old as the British Raj, when the government made uniform criminal and contract laws but abstained from getting involved in personal laws. Time and again, call for a Uniform Civil Code was heard in the Parliament, but as a result of various propagandas and obstructions, its fate got limited to Article 44 of the Directive Principle of the State Policy.

This paper gives a brief insight into the civil codes of different countries and continents of the world, and highlights some of their discriminatory provisions. It traces the history of Uniform Civil Code in India, and explains the unfortunate circumstances which led to its not coming into effect till date.

Through this paper, I have examined the historical aspects, conflicts, political issues, and cases in which question of a common civil code was at the center. The personal laws of different religions of the country, in one way or another, permit discrimination, and violate the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But, even after decades of trying to reform these laws, we have failed to do away with their oppressive parts, because even in a secular country like India, religion seems to have gained a higher ground than the Constitution.

India is a land of religions and diversities, but a common code which will govern all the citizens uniformly in civil matters is needed to ensure that no human rights violation takes place under the cover of Freedom of Religion, because such discriminatory practices or customs are not an integral part of any religion, and so they must be discontinued, and a common code that confirms to the Constitution irrespective of religion is the only way to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens, and keep secularism alive in India.