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By- Anukritee Pateria

India is a country of diversity in itself. It is the perfect combination of different religions and languages. With the difference of every 10 km, there’s always a slight change in the language and culture of people. While there’s such a great variation among the people their religion, culture, language, and everything else they all are governed by the same laws in most of the matters. The constitution is considered to be the Grund Norm and every resident whether a citizen or non-citizen is protected as well as bound by it.

Most laws are the same, but, the personal laws for each religion differ. Several people of various religions are subject to their respective religion's Personal Laws. As a result, people from different classes receive different treatment.

There are various codes for various communities, such as the Marriage Act, Succession Act, Adoption and Maintenance Act, and Guardianship Act. There are also numerous sects, each of which is governed by its own set of customs, traditions, and so on. These codes are based on various personal laws of various religious communities, but this classification based on religion faces many difficulties when the issue of succession, marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, maintenance, guardianship, custody of children, and so on arises.

How bizarre it sounds and feels. We have the same punishment for every citizen regardless of their religion for committing any crime but different measures while adopting a child or getting married.

Except for personal laws, we have nearly covered every aspect of law in terms of uniform legislation. There is no uniform civil code of law that applies to all personal relationships, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation.

Because of this, the distribution of justice is difficult; thus, decisive steps toward national consolidation were taken in the form of the idea of a Uniform Civil Code, which was seriously proposed for the first time in the Constituent Assembly in 1947.

Article 44 of the Indian Constitution refers to a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens, which includes the entire gamut of family laws. It can help us understand the concept of the Uniform Civil Code. The article requires that steps be taken to establish a uniform civil code throughout India's territory.

A uniform civil code will imply a set of common personal laws for all citizens, regardless of their religious or cultural background. Because India has a diverse population, the main goal of the code will be to provide a rational set of common personal laws that will be in favor of all and will not promote or protect any specific religion but the citizens.

The existence of a uniform civil code relating to personal laws does not imply that Hindu personal laws apply to other communities. It entails the creation of a rational system that eliminates the inequalities and injustices inherent in that ancient system, particularly against women and children, as well as the replacement of all existing personal laws with such a rational system.

The Constitution of India treats all citizens equally in respect of their fundamental, constitutional, and legal rights. Not only the Constitution of India but also other laws, which are not of a purely family nature, give equal treatment to all citizens. UCC is needed to bring clarity, simplicity, and intelligibility to personal laws because the scenario in this regard is still very ambiguous.

The main challenge in the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code is the existence of insecurity in the minds of the minority population of India. The minority is afraid that they will be subject to the majority's personal laws. In many cases, this insecurity of minorities is clear. Talking about the criminalization of triple talaq caused a huge uproar from the Muslim community.

The intention and objective of the Uniform Civil Code are far removed from this view of the minority. It does not impose a majority rule on a minority, but rather imposes a uniform and secular code of civil law that preserves the constitutional provisions on every citizen of India, irrespective of religion.

A country that still has secularism in its constitution is at odds with this whole concept of secularism, especially when it is interpreted in comparison with the personal laws of its citizens. It has become a confusing melting pot of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Parisians who have different personal laws. These religious communities coexist as part of one country, yet the family laws of India differ from one religion to another.

The reason for this is that the customs, social usage and religious interpretation of these communities as practiced in their personal lives depends enormously on the religion in which they were born and on what they practice in the laws of society.

What kind of society are we creating by enacting such skewed legislation? Is it right to be subjected to different personal laws while claiming that we are all equal? What about the flagrant violation of human rights perpetrated by these personal laws?

India's Personal Law System has failed to provide equal justice to all its citizens. In many instances, people of different religions are observed taking advantage of other religious laws. It has also caused serious inter-religious injustice.

Some of the issues that frequently arise as a result of the lack of a unified set of personal laws for all citizens are; Misuse of Personal Law, Differences between religions, Absence of Precedent, Technicalities of the laws, Gender injustice, Inequality before the law, etc.

Goa is the only state in India to have a uniform civil code. The Goa Civil Code, also known as the Goa Family Law, is a uniform civil law for the inhabitants of Goa. Some of the key provisions of the Code are as follows:

· Goa Civil Code provides that marriage is a civil contract.

· After marriage, everything belonging to the husband and wife before – and after – marriage becomes common and the spouse is liable to receive half of that common belonging in the case of divorce. In such cases, the Code allows for antenuptial agreements. Such agreements may provide for a different division of assets in the event of a divorce. Such agreements shall be considered to be irrevocable.

· Equal property rights for sons and daughters.

· Parents are not entitled to completely disinherit their children. Half of the property is the minimum requirement to be passed on to children.

The implementation of the Uniform Civil Code will be successful only after we have increased literacy, raised awareness of various socio-political issues and legitimate debates, and increased social and religious mobility. The ultimate goal of Uniform Civil Code reform should be to ensure national equality, unity, and integrity, as well as equality and justice for men and women.

While implementing the UCC across the country, we must keep in mind that the problems of minority religious groups, such as the insecurity of complete loss of identity within Indian society, must be properly addressed. It is because uniform civil law cannot be successfully implemented unless and until all stakeholders and communities involved support and accept it.

In any case, it's time to layout our ideals and disagreements in pursuit of the dream of a common civil code. In the seven decades since the Constitution was enacted, no genuine effort has been made to initiate such a dialogue. It is also clear that the Uniform Civil Code does not violate Constitutional Articles 25 and 26. Rather, it should be a new law and not a blending of personal laws. The problem with the blending of personal laws is that there is every chance of bias. The Parliament should enact a new code similar to the Special Marriage Act of 1954, which does not grant preferential treatment or bias to any religion.

People must understand that religion and the law are not the same things. This is because the Constitution allows people to practice their religion, which will continue even if a uniform code is implemented. The uniform code will never restrict their freedom to practice or profess their religion.There is an urgent need for uniform legislation to be introduced in India.

One must not forget her/his roots. Indeed we must celebrate and flourish our culture and beliefs. But imposing orthodox, biased, and vague laws is not one of them. We must respect others' beliefs and their religion but when this belief is causing injustice it can never be good. Think about the nature of Personal Laws we are having among different communities, they might seem just okay but they are truly horrible. It’s a mockery that we have only recently managed to get daughters an equal share in father’s property under Hindu law despite their marital status and in other Personal Laws, there are webs of prejudices.

There are endless questions that are there on this topic but we are blinded because of our wrong beliefs. Beliefs that are harming more than protecting.

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