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Law Commission on Uniform Civil Code

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September 01, 2018

Why in news?

The Law Commission of India has said that a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage.”

What are the observations made?

  • Uniformity - Difference does not always imply discrimination in a robust democracy.
  • So a unified nation does not necessarily need to have “uniformity.”
  • Cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent of preserving uniformity.
  • As, uniformity itself cannot become a threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.
  • Secularism - Secularism could not contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.
  • The term ‘secularism’ has meaning only if it assures the expression of any form of difference.
  • This diversity, both religious and regional, should not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority.
  • However, discriminatory practices within a religion should not hide behind that faith to gain legitimacy.

What does the commission call for?

  • The commission stresses on efforts to reconcile the country's diversity with universal arguments on human rights.
  • Codification - The commission has called for the codification of all personal laws.
  • This would help in bringing to light the prejudices and stereotypes in all religion.
  • They can eventually be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution.
  • Universal principles - Codification of different personal laws could help arrive at certain universal principles.
  • These may facilitate prioritising equity rather than imposition of a Uniform Code.
  • A uniform code would only discourage many from using the law altogether.
  • This is especially given the fact that matters of marriage and divorce can be settled extra-judicially as well.
  • Amendments - The commission thus suggested certain measures in marriage and divorce.
  • These should be uniformly accepted in the personal laws of all religions.
  • These amendments in personal laws include
  1. fixing the marriageable age for boys and girls at 18 years so that they marry as equals
  2. making adultery a ground for divorce for men and women
  3. simplifying divorce procedure
  • Polygamy - It suggested making polygamy a criminal offence and applying it to all communities.
  • This is not recommended owing to merely a moral position on bigamy, or to glorify monogamy.
  • It rather emanates from the fact that only a man is permitted multiple wives, which is unfair.

 

Source: The Hindu

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