Critically Examining the Need for Unified Personal Laws in India

  • Ananya Bhattacharjee
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  • Ananya Bhattacharjee

    Student at Amity Law School, Noida, India

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The promise of legal uniformity in India faces a significant hurdle: the persistence of religion-based personal laws. This paper critically examines the necessity for a unified personal law code, arguing that the current system, a legacy of historical and colonial influences, breeds inconsistencies and potential for discrimination. We begin with a historical overview, exploring the origins of personal laws in India. Each religious community – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and others – adheres to its own set of codes, often rooted in ancient scriptures and customs. Significant discrepancies emerge across these laws, particularly in areas of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption. For instance, some allow for polygamy, while others strictly prohibit it. Further complicating the picture is the influence of colonial rule. The British, to an extent, codified and formalized existing personal laws, potentially introducing biases and hindering the development of a unified legal framework. This fragmented system raises serious concerns in a modern, secular India. The lack of uniformity creates confusion and potential for forum shopping, where individuals seek jurisdictions with laws most favorable to their cause. More importantly, it raises questions of equality and justice, as citizens' rights and obligations hinge on their religion, potentially leading to discrimination. This paper delves deeper into these issues, analyzing the arguments for and against a unified personal law code. It critically evaluates whether such a code could promote national integration, gender equality, and a more streamlined legal system, while also addressing concerns regarding cultural and religious identity.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, Page 1119 - 1132


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