Thursday, October 27, 2016

Do We Really Need Uniform Civil Code?

Uniform Civil Code Debate
Do We Really Need Uniform Civil Code?
In past few days, I am thinking a lot about Uniform Civil Code, and I believe, it is a great idea, which should be materialized and implemented as soon as possible. Though, I also believe, the BJP Government is toying with the idea of Uniform Civil Code to woo the voters, different to its traditional Hindu voters in upcoming legislative elections. If you look at questionnaire by the Law Commission, it can be easily said, they are not thinking about the solution, atleast for now.

In my blog post, The Intolerance Debate — Award Wapsi, Hindu-Muslim Ideology War and Other Facts, I have discussed about the idea of no single India and many Indias.

A Hindu who belongs to a small city of Rajasthan cannot relate to the customs of a Hindu who lives somewhere in Madras, Tamil Nadu. A Muslim who lives in Kashmir cannot relate to Muslim who lives in the Hyderabad. But they can easily relate to someone who is from their native place, even when they have different religions.

All I want to say, we cannot judge India simply by one yardstick because there is no one India, there are many Indias. It will be pretty hard to come up with one Uniform Civil Law which is just to every major and minor community.

For example, you will find Muslims in Haryana and Rajasthan who follow Hindu Varna and Gotra system, where cousin-marriage is permissible in Muslims, but in their Muslim world, it is big NO.[1] Similarly, in North Indian Hindu society, a boy cannot simply marry a girl from same gotra, but among South Indian Hindus, a girl can marry her maternal uncle[2] and it is depicted in Southern Indian cinema.

Now, when we look at the above problem, which is not a problem in reality, we either think of dropping the Uniform Civil Code idea or imposing the Code without thinking much. In my view, the former is not acceptable but the latter is not also acceptable, not because it will affect the minorities, but it will also affect the majority. So what is the solution.

The solution is within the Constitution. If you read the Article 44, it is not written in the Constitution to implement the Uniform Civil Code in one go, but it has asked the State to endeavour the Uniform Civil Code through India.

The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

It means instead of implementing the law in one go, the Government need to come up series of laws, one by one, aimed specifically to curb down common problems/malpractices in every religion. For now, they can come up with solution for polygamy (Maitri Karar and Nata Pratha in Hindus) and divorce and then tackle other problems, one by one. Eventually, creating a way for the Uniform Civil Code.

There is another way, we can come to any solution, create a draft for the Uniform Civil Code, discuss the draft on public forum, and afterward getting inputs and modifying the draft according to reasonable suggestions, make it a law. Though, this step is not favorable as above but it will be more preferrable than the current stance.

If we look at the questionnaire, it does not seem challenging and highly debatable. Though, it is about gender empowerment, and it has not discussed other civil topics like adoption, succession, property rights and child rights. Even then, I support the Uniform Civil Code, atleast it has started the debate for god sake and now it should be our task to pressurize government to come up with a law.

Footnotes
1. Meo, Wikipedia
2. Problems with consanguineous marriages, The Hindu

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