Uniform Civil Code – The Core IAS

Uniform Civil Code

What is Uniform Civil Code?


  • A UCC would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities, in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.
  • Currently, Indian personal law is fairly complex, with each religion adhering to its own specific laws. Separate laws govern Hindus including Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist, Muslims, Christians, and followers of other religions.

What did the 21st Law Commission say on the matter?

  • Underlining that the Uniform Civil Code is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”, the 21st Law Commission of India, in 2018, argued for reform of family laws of every religion through amendments and codification of certain aspects so as to make them gender-just.
  • In its ‘Consultation Paper on Family Law Reforms’, the Law Commission took a stand in favour of “equality ‘within communities’ between men and women” (personal law reform), “rather than ‘equality between’ communities” (UCC).
  • “Cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation,” the paper said, emphasising that celebration of the diversity of Indian culture must not disprivilege specific groups. It further noted that “women must be guaranteed their freedom of faith without any compromise on their right to equality” as it would be unfair to make women choose between one and the other.
  • The current Law Commission’s directive on the issue, while not making any recommendations, again raises the matter.

What does the Constitution say about a UCC?

  • Article 44 of the Constitution lies down that the state shall endeavour to secure a UCC for citizens throughout the territory of India.
  • Article 44 is among the Directive Principles of State Policy. Directive Principles are not enforceable by court, but are supposed to inform and guide governance.
  • “However, in some senses, Article 44 is unique in this manner. While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc. Furthermore, the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44. All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.

Why is there no uniform code for personal law?

  • Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture. An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights.

Source: Indian Express