The brave fight put up by Muslim women against the practice of triple talaq has once again brought into focus the lack of a uniform civil code in India. The Narendra Modi government has now asked the Law Commission to examine the issue. This is hopefully the first step towards the implementation of something that has been delayed for far too long.
Article 44 of the Constitution of India states that – The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.This means that the direction notably is not for parliament to enact such a code straight away but for all organs of the state to make efforts to secure uniformity in civil laws.
Any talk on uniform civil code must come at such a time and in such a way that we have gradually moved towards assimilation of the very best from each of personal law system that exists. What we cannot achieve through forced legislation , we are slowly achieving through seemless transition through secular laws.Borrowing freely from laws of each other ,making gradual changes in each of pieces of legislation, making judicial pronouncements that assure gender equality and adopting expansive interpretations for broadening the outlook related to marriage, maintenance, adoption and succession by specifically acknowledging that benefit one community secures from others.The Portugese Civil Code of 1867 was continued in Goa after its liberation and it should serve as a model to all other states.The progressive law provides for equal division of income and property regardless of gender.It is also applicable to Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar haveli and Daman and Diu
Supreme Court at its best in the Sarla Mudgal Judgement said,”The desirability of uniform civil code can be hardly doubted but it can concretise only when social climate is properly built by the elite of the society and statement. Instead of getting personal mileage, rise above and awaken the masses to accept the change”.As the recent events and efforts of the government show a new height acheived in cooperative federalism via passing of 122nd Constitutional amendment Bill regarding GST, the same can be replicated in terms of Uniform civil code
To Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, at the time of initiating the dialogue and finalising the draft of constitution it was the obvious choice, for he saw no merit in religion in its application to personal law.The Uniform Civil Code is the corestone of true secularism.Such a progressive reform would not only help end discrimination against women on religious grounds but also strengthen the secular fabric of our country and promote unity.The whole concept of common civil code is not aimed against any particular religion or its customs , but to prevent oppression in the name of religion by any religion.