[Answered] In light of present conditions, critically analyze the recommendations of the 21st Law Commission on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Introduction: Describe UCC.

Body: What were the recommendations of the 21 Law Commission?

Conclusion: What is the way forward?

A uniform civil code would provide a single body of law that would apply to all religious communities nationwide in aspects of individuals’ private lives, such as adoption, inheritance, and marriage. According to Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, the government is required to work towards establishing a uniform civil code for all of its residents.  The 21st Law Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Balbir Singh Chauhan, held that the “formulation of a Uniform Civil Code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”.

What were its main recommendations?

  • Diversity: The commission recognized that the principle of difference does not imply discrimination and most nations have recognized diversity as their moving principle rather than establishing legal uniformity.
  • Reform in family laws: The commission was vocal in suggesting that personal laws of all religions be reformed to make them gender-neutral and just. The focus should be to establish uniformity in rights guaranteed to all without any bias toward gender, group, etc
  • Economic Rights of Women: The commission focussed on the economic rights of women rather than delving into controversial issues like triple talaq, Muslim bigamy, or the constitutional validity of adultery under Section 497 of the IPC since these issues were before either the Supreme Court or Parliament.
  • Change in the Hindu coparcenary system: Commission suggested changes in Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) property which are being used only for tax evasion.
  • Codification of Muslim Law: Commission suggested that Muslim Laws be codified in matters of inheritance and laws should be gender neutral in matters of inheritance. Inheritance right should even be given to Muslim women. It also suggested uniformity in these provisions between Shias and Sunnis.
  • Property rights: The Commission noted the division of all matrimonial property acquired after marriage must be divided between the two parties after the dissolution of a marriage in case of divorce.
  • Bigamy and Conversion: Commission had suggested that UCC be enacted to deal with these issues as there is frequent misuse of these provisions.
  • Custody and guardianship: Commission noted that the interest of the child is paramount in matters of custody and guardianship. The report also noted views regarding the right of Parsi women and Christian women in matters of custody and guardianship.


The recommendations of the 21 Law Commission are to be viewed by the newly appointed 22nd Law Commission headed by former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi. UCC should be framed by soliciting the views of the public, religious groups, and all stakeholders within the framework of the Constitution.

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