Uniform Civil Code – UCC Full Form, Shah Bano Case & Article 44

By Balaji

Updated on: March 4th, 2023

Uniform Civil Code or UCC aims to establish a single national law that would apply to all faith communities in matters of personal concern, such as adoption, inheritance, and marriage. The Uniform Civil Code in India will replace the existing religious personal laws in India and have a uniform law that will cater to all citizens, irrespective of their religion. The term ‘Uniform Civil Code is explicitly mentioned in Part 4, Article 44 of the Indian Constitution. Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

A country’s Uniform Civil Code is not just a matter of justice, it is also a matter of how a country accommodates its diverse population. UCC can find its relevance in the Indian society and governance sections of the UPSC Syllabus. It makes this Uniform Civil Code imperative from the UPSC exam perspective.

Table of content

  • 1. What is Uniform Civil Code? (more)
  • 2. History of Uniform Civil Code (more)
  • 3. Shah Bano Case UCC (more)
  • 4. Article 44 – Uniform Civil Code Article (more)
  • 5. Uniform Civil Code in India (more)
  • 6. Uniform Civil Code in Goa (more)
  • 7. Challenges with Uniform Civil Code in India (more)
  • 8. Uniform Civil Code UPSC (more)

What is Uniform Civil Code?

Uniform, as the word says, includes personal laws of citizens that are applied equally no matter to which religion, sex, gender, and sexual orientation they belong. A Uniform Civil Code means that all sections of the society, irrespective of their religion, shall be treated equally according to a national civil code, which shall apply to all uniformly.

Uniform Civil Code Notes

Article 44 of the Indian Constitution states that- “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”.

  • UCC Full Form is Uniform Civil Code.
  • Article 44 mentions the Common Civil Code in the constitution.

History of Uniform Civil Code

The colonial period in India saw the debate for a Uniform Civil Code. Hence, it dates back that long and originated when the British government submitted its report in 1835 to have a uniform codification of Indian laws making it easier to provide justice. In the pre-independence times (colonial era), criminal laws were codified and became common for the whole country. While the personal laws continued to be governed by separate codes for different communities. The Post-Colonial era (1947-1985) saw the drafting of the Constitution of India. The prominent leaders pushed for a Uniform Civil Code mainly due to the opposition from religious fundamentalists and ignorant masses. Some reforms that took place during that period were The Hindu code bill, Succession Act, The Hindu Marriage Act, the Minority and Guardianship Act, and the Adoptions and Maintenance Act, to name a few.

Shah Bano Case UCC

For the very first time in the year 1985, it was the apex court of India that gave the directions to the Parliament to structure a Uniform Civil Code related to the case of Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, that later on came to be known as the Shah Bano case to the country as a whole. This case of Shah Bano revolved around getting the maintenance amount from her husband once she got triple talaq as per Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, the government reversed the decision related to her case by coming out with Muslim Women (Right to Protection on Divorce) Act 1986. As per this Act, a Muslim woman did not have the right to ask for maintenance under the previous Act. Finally, by 2017, the Triple Talaq, or talaq-e-bidat as it was known to the community, was pronounced unconstitutional and against the law.

Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India

Another important case that came to the limelight was the Sarla Mudgal Case in 1995, which brought forward the issue of bigamy and disagreement on marriage matters under the existing personal laws. According to the court, a Hindu marriage that has been solemnized in accordance with Hindu law may only be dissolved on one of the grounds listed in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. A second marriage that is solemnized after converting to Islam would be unlawful under section 494 of the Indian Penal Code since it would not automatically invalidate the Hindu marriage under the legislation (IPC).

Article 44 – Uniform Civil Code Article

As per Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, the country’s citizens should be treated equally without any form of discrimination. Religion should not separate them at any point in time and keep them united. It covers areas like marriage, divorce, inheritance, maintenance, adoption, and succession of the property where everyone is equal and the same code of conduct must be followed for all. Though, Part 4, Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, corresponds with Directive Principles of State Policy directing the State to provide its citizens with a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India. Nonetheless, Article 37 of the Constitution itself makes it clear the DPSP “shall not be enforceable by any court”. This indicates that although our constitution itself believes that a Uniform Civil Code should be implemented somehow, it does not make this implementation mandatory.

Uniform Civil Code in India

A Uniform Civil Code is significant in bringing the country together as it is rich in diverse religions, customs, and practices. Though independence did the same thing, the uniform civil code has much more to offer. One national civil code of conduct will be followed for bringing all the Indians belonging to different castes, religions, or tribes under the same roof. Equality would be the buzzword with no discrimination of any kind, making everyone feel like one. This would mean more power and great force to mankind, making the country come out much stronger by following the simple legal system that would benefit all.

Why does India need Uniform Civil Code?

Applying the UCC in India is meant to bring India together as a country since people from all parts of the country follow different religions, customs, and practices. The aim of bringing the code is to integrate India. One national civil code of conduct for all the country’s citizens will treat them as equals. Uniform Civil Code will cover areas like marriage, divorce, inheritance, maintenance, adoption, and succession of the property, where everyone would be equal. Uniform Civil Code meant one code over personal laws uniting all the citizens regardless of the religion they follow, the sex to which they belong, along with their gender and sexual orientation. This is because most of the personal laws are based in different communities depending on their religious books and related stuff thus bringing a big divide. Hence uniform civil code meant following just one common law irrespective of the community to which one belongs along with the faith being practiced.

Uniform Civil Code in Goa

Goa is a great example, as called over by the apex court of India, the Supreme Court, due to the applicability of the Uniform Civil Code to one and all. No matter to which religion they belong and in the process of securing the limited rights under the Portuguese Civil Code that came into being in 1867. It was the common civil code that got introduced in Goa in 1870. Over time, the code saw many changes based on different decrees. The modern version of the law came to light in 1966.

Challenges with Uniform Civil Code in India

Uniform Civil Code brought people together by following one common code of conduct but many were of the view that it violated the fundamental rights of the people as it was in conflict with what is stated as part of them. Freedom of sense of right and wrong belonging to a free profession, practice, and propagation of religions as per Article 25, and the freedom to manage religious affairs under Article 26 get infringed.

Suggestions for Implementation of UCC in India

Uniformity of laws and the accomplishment of common objectives as per the Constitution meant making the people progressive and broad-minded to accept the laws that are good for society as a whole. Spreading this education by making a maximum number of people aware of the code and developing sensitization programs was the need of the hour. All religions must be given due importance, and none of them should be given a backseat by any chance. The sentiments of people from different communities must be preserved, and they should not feel hurt at any point in time with the coming up of these laws. It is a sensitive issue that must be taken good care of for the welfare of the country and its people alike. These details will assist candidates in curating an excellent Uniform Civil Code Essay or talking points about Uniform Civil Code GD Topic.

Uniform Civil Code UPSC

Uniform Civil Code is relevant for both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains. Aspirants should study the Uniform Civil Code topics from the NCERT Books for UPSC, UPSC Books, and Polity Books for UPSC to cover the topic in every aspect. In the mains exams=, aspirants can also expect an Essay on Uniform Civil Code or Hindu Code Bill UPSC. Once done with the UPSC Syllabus, the candidates should solve the UPSC Previous Year Questions Papers.

UCC UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the case is related to the Uniform Civil Code?

  1. Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum
  2. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India
  3. Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan
  4. Lily Thomas v. Union of India

Answer: Option 1

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