[Answered] “Uniform Civil Code is essential to promote national harmony.” Critically analyse.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Introduce with article 44.
Body. Argument in favour and against uniform civil code.
Conclusion. Way forward.

In India, different communities are governed by different Personal laws. Article 44 of the Constitution says that, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” UCC can promote justice, gender equality and national integration and it will simplify the cumbersome legal matters governed by personal laws.

How Uniform Civil Code can lead to national harmony?

  1. It will lead to equality: India is a secular democracy. A common civil and personal law in India would ensure equality among all its citizens, irrespective of their religion, class, caste, gender etc. Thus UCC will lead to equality in society.
  2. It will prevent gender discrimination: Personal laws of almost all religions are discriminatory towards women. Men are usually granted upper status in personal laws. Uniform civil code will bring both men and women at par and would reduce atrocities against women. It will promote gender equality and welfare of women.
  3. It will promote justice: UCC can promote justice by incorporating similar laws for all citizens. It will help in providing justice to the women. Also it will lead to social justice by promoting equality in the Indian society among various sects.
  4. Simplification of legal matters: UCC will simplify the cumbersome legal matters governed by personal laws. In the absence of UCC judges interpret various provisions like maintenance in case of Muslim women according to their prejudices and opinion. The introduction of UCC will prevent such interference and promote Uniform provisions.
  5. It will promote national integration: Indian citizens are equal before the court of law as the criminal laws and other civil laws (except personal laws) are same for all. With the implementation of Uniform Civil Code, all citizen will share the same set of personal laws. There will be no scope of politicisation of issues of the discrimination or concessions or special privileges enjoyed by a particular community on the basis of their religious personal laws.
  6. Will lead to societal reforms: Existing personal laws are mainly based on the patriarchal notions of the society in all religions. UCC is will remove such patriarchal notions by destroying their sanctity.

Some issues wrt Uniform Civil Code:

  1. It is practically difficult to implement. Further to come up with a common and uniform set of rules for personal issues like marriage is not easy due to vast cultural diversity in India across the religions, sects, castes, states etc.
  2. Such a code, in its true spirit, must be brought about by making gradual changes. UCC can only emerge through an evolutionary process, preserving India’s rich heritage.
  3. The codification and implementation of UCC may not necessarily usher in the expected equality among genders and religions.
  4. It would lead to widespread protests and will hamper stability of the nation.

In the absence of any consensus on a uniform civil code the best way forward is to preserve the diversity of personal laws, at the same time ensuring that personal laws do not contradict fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India. Enactment of Uniform civil code should be more gradual process leading to a better society.

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