Union Law Minister D Sadanand Gowda stated before the Parliament that implementing a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country was an arduous task and would require initiating consultations with various stakeholders on the matter.
Different communities in the country have their own set of personal laws governing aspects like marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance and each of these laws are different from those pertaining to other communities. The demand for a uniform civil code which covers these aspects means all of these personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each religious community in the country would be replaced with a common set of identical personal laws governing all citizens. Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said that the government would be initiating discussions “at the earliest” as it was a “sensitive issue” and added that the existing laws being biased against women and the lower castes, the new set of codes would enhance their status. Implementing a uniform civil code has been one of the main agendas of the BJP as well as the Sangh Parivar. They keep reiterating the necessity of a common set of codes for all the communities in the country and emphasize the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution which mandates a need of a common civil code.
While the BJP and the Left parties back a UCC, the Congress and the minority communities oppose the move. If the ruling party and its allies abstain from bringing up the matter as well as the issue of Kashmir statehood, discerning it as “sensitive” considering the sentiments of other communities, it’s laudable. A government is deemed to act sensibly and in the people’s interest only when it take into account the country’s diversity and cultural disparities and adhere to its stance accordingly. An outline of a uniform civil code has not been yet put in order. There have been no moves even from the society concerned. There were more secular laws like the Special Marriage Act even prior independence for the people in need of it. Since the UCC concerns the aspects like marriage, divorce and inheritance for all the communities alike, the move seems unfeasible and unrealistic and is bound to invite sharp resistance from the religious groups. The communities wouldn’t be able to accept a common civil code that doesn’t incorporate their beliefs. Given the sensitivity of the matter, the government should approach and tackle it with sensibility and logic.