Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has been a topic of discussion and controversial conversation in India. Many political parties have discussed it in the past but left the matter to be, instead of making it mandatory law. Uniform civil law in simple terms means equal laws for all irrespective of their caste, gender, sex, and religion.
In India, personal laws prevail, and a uniform civil code is a way to convert these personal laws into universal laws that apply to a particular nation. As of now uniform civil code in India comes under article 44 of the constitution which is part of the Directive Principles of the State which makes it a guideline but not a mandatory action to follow.
BJP stance on Uniform Civil Code
The BJP has multiple times showcased its interest and willingness to introduce a uniform civil code as a law in the country via its manifesto. At present, personal laws are largely governed on the basis of religion.
The BJP has included a uniform civil code in several manifestos including the years 1998, 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. They largely introduced it as a means to provide women with equality, promote gender equality, women’s rights to adoption, remove discriminatory practices against women, and several other pros concerned with equality for all.
While many believe that BJP’s initiative to implement a UCC is just a measure to spread their propaganda of Hindutva and has nothing to do with promoting gender equality. Uttar Pradesh and Assam are keen on implementing uniform civil code in their states while Uttrakhand’s CM is already preparing ways to implement the uniform civil code. Pushkar Singh Dhami seems apt on his decision while other BJP states like Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are waiting for the response from UP for them to try and test.
The stance of Minorities on the Uniform Civil Code
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board had said that the UCC is unconstitutional and anti-minority moves as they feel if the UCC is implemented the laws will be directed as per the liking of the majority or in any sense favouring the majority especially the religion laws will be enforced by the majority curbing value and rights of the minorities.
However, a debate that majorly contrast this opinion is that it will give an equal set of laws applicable for all. This is very well expressed by the supreme court in a statement reported by first post that “ Uniform Civil Code is essential in the country. It said, “This [separate laws for different communities] cannot be accepted. Otherwise, every religion will say it has a right to decide various issues as a matter of its personal law. We don’t agree with this at all. It has to be done through a decree of a court.” While the country has a diverse population and culture implementing uniform civil code across the nation could be chaotic and unacceptable by the minorities resulting in clashes between the two groups.