Why is it in the news?
- The Uttarakhand Cabinet has approved the final draft of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
- The draft aims to introduce provisions that ensure gender equality, particularly in matters related to inheritance.
- It also seeks to abolish practices like polygamy, iddat (mandatory waiting period for women after the dissolution of a Muslim marriage), and triple talaq.
|About Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
· UCC is a directive principle outlined in Part IV of the Indian Constitution, specifically in Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).
· Article 44 states that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”
· The idea of a UCC has its roots in the debates during the framing of the Indian Constitution. Proponents, including Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, believed that a UCC was essential to promote gender equality, secularism, and national integration.
· However, there were opposing views, with some members of the Constituent Assembly arguing against tampering with religious laws without the consent of respective religious communities.
· The purpose of UCC is to establish a uniform legal framework for all citizens of India, irrespective of their religion. Currently, matters such as marriage, divorce, and succession are governed by religion-based personal laws.
Related Supreme Court’s Observations
- Over the years, the Supreme Court has deliberated upon the issue of UCC in various judgments but has refrained from issuing directives to the government, stating that law-making falls within the exclusive domain of Parliament.
- In the landmark Shah Bano case of 1985, the Court expressed regret over the non-implementation of Article 44 and called for its enforcement.
- Similar sentiments were reiterated in subsequent cases like Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India (1995) and John Vallamattom v. Union of India (2003), among others.
- The approval of the UCC draft by the Uttarakhand Cabinet reflects a step towards realizing the principles of gender equality and secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
- However, the implementation of a UCC remains a subject of debate and requires consensus-building among various stakeholders.