Why uniform civil code continues to be a hot potato

The uniform civil code is a proposal to replace the personal laws of major religious communities with a common set that will govern each citizen

GN Bureau | July 4, 2016


#Shah Bano   #supreme court   #uniform civil code   #Muslim personal law  
Supreme Court of India

The uniform civil code is a hugely controversial subject in India. The law ministry has now asked the law commission to examine in detail all issues pertaining to it and submit a report to the government.

 
Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on July 2 said that “the issue has been discussed in and outside parliament. It has also been on the BJP’s agenda. Therefore, the law commission has been asked to conduct a detailed study and file a report. It may take six months to a year”.
 
This has triggered a political storm, with opposition leader in Kerala assembly Ramesh Chennithala saying that the “present move is only for political gains as the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls are round the corner”.
 
The issue has been simmering for the past three decades. It came into sharp focus during the Shah Bano case in 1985 when the debate was on Muslim Personal Law that allows unilateral divorce and polygamy.
 
Not that the constitution makers did not ponder over it. A directive principle in the Indian constitution says: “The state shall endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”
 
But that did not help matters, with Goa being the only Indian state to have a uniform civil code.
 
The argument favouring the uniform civil code is quite simple. A secular country like India should have a common law for all, rather than having different set of rules that are based on religious practises.
 
The larger issue is about justice for Muslim women as they have to face the feared prospect of triple talaq.
 
Advocate Farah Faiz last week appealed to the supreme court not to accept All India Muslim Personal Law Board's support to it.
 
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