On 15 June 2023, the Congress questioned the Law Commission’s decision to revisit the Uniform Civil Code despite its earlier paper on the subject from August 2018 and claimed that the most recent attempt demonstrates the BJP government’s “desperation” for continuing its “agenda of polarization and diversion” from its flaws. The Law Commission declared on 14 June 2023 that it would examine the Uniform Civil Code. A Uniform Civil Code is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage,” according to the 21st Law Commission, which investigated the issue and made this observation in a report published in August 2018. The rivalry between the oppositions continues on the Uniform Civil Code.
According to the opposition party’s general secretary (communications), Jairam Ramesh, This latest attempt represents the BJP Government’s desperation for a legitimate justification for its continuing agenda of polarization and diversion from its glaring failures.
The term “Uniform Civil Code” refers to a collection of rules governing private affairs, including marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, and succession. Currently, most of a community’s personal rules are dictated by its religion. In accordance with the Uniform Civil Code, all citizens are subject to the same laws, regardless of their caste, gender, or religion.
Importance of UCC and its Incorporation amidst Election Platforms
The 22nd Law Commission of India thought it essential to revisit the subject in light of the subject’s relevance and importance as well as the court rulings pertaining to it, according to the new announcement The Indian Constitution includes the Uniform Civil Code as a Directive Principle, making it a long-running source of controversy in Indian politics.
The BJP included the Uniform Civil Code in its 1998 and 2019 election platforms. A measure for its introduction was filed in Parliament by Narayan Lal Panchariya in November 2019, but it was later withdrawn in response to opposition protests. Kirodi Lal Meena reintroduced the measure in March 2020, which still needs to be submitted to Parliament. The Supreme Court has also received petitions for equality under the laws governing marriage, divorce, adoption, and succession.
Moreover, the 2018 consultation document acknowledged the need to rectify some practices that discriminate against women under India’s varied family law regimes. Recognizing the difficult path ahead, the Commission 2018 recommended that, rather than considering a UCC, “rights can be reconciled by making piecemeal changes to laws wherever necessary” in the numerous personal laws. Now that the 22nd Law Commission, presided over by Justice Rituraj Awasthi, has issued a new notice for consultations, it is still being determined how the discussion and debate on the matter will develop.
Reformation of Uniform Civil Code
Throughout India’s 75 years of independence, numerous reforms to the personal laws and UCC have been demanded. However, there are a number of obstacles to putting in place a uniform civil code, including opposition from religious organizations, a lack of political agreement, and variations within the laws themselves. The Supreme Court of India is now hearing many public interest litigations (PILs) that call for the protection of women and the reform of divorce, guardianship, and succession laws.
The Law Commission of India released a public notice recently asking for feedback on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The issue comes five years after the same problem was the subject of a consultation paper from the 21st Law Commission in August 2018.