uniform civil code for all citizens

Q.1 What are the provisions of the uniform civil code for all citizens ? shall endeavour to secure for its constitution contained in Chapter IV "Directive Uniform Civil Code for all Citizens not be enforced by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the contrary and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles inmaking laws".


Ans. - Article 44 of the constitution enjoins in its Directive Principles that "The state Principles of State Policy" lays down that "The provisions contained in this part shall Justice Kuldip Singh, in his separate but concurrent judgement observed : one wonders how long will it take for the Government of the day to implement the mandate of the formers of the constitution under Article 44 of the constitution of India. The traditional Hindu Law - personal law of the Hindus governing inheritance succession and marriage was given go bye as back as 1955-56 by waiting the sem There is no justification whatsoever in delaying identifinitely the introduction of uniform personal law in the country. "Article 44 is based on the concept that there is no necessary connection between religion and personal law in a civilised society.


Article 25 guarantees religious freedom where as Article 44 seeks to divest religion from socialrelations and personal law. Marriage, succession and like matters of a secular character cannot be brought within the guarantee enshrined under Article 25, 26 and 27. The personal law ofthe Hindus, such as relating to marriage, succession and the like is all of a sacramental. The Hindus along with sikhs, buddhists, and jains have forsaken their sentiments in the course of a national unity and integration, some other communities would not. though the constitution enjoins the establishment of a "common civil code" for the whole of India, The matter was considered at length by the Supreme Court in Smt. Sarla Mudgal, President Kalyani Vs. Union of India and others, judgement Today, 1995 (4), S. C. (331) by Hon. Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh and Hon. Mr. Justice R. M. Sahi.


The problem with which these appeals were concerned was that many Hindus have changed their religion and have become conver to Islam only for purposes the consequences of bigamy. of escaping For instance - Jitendra Mathur was married to Meena Mathur. He and another Hindu girl embraced Islam, obviously because Muslim Law permits more than one wife and to the extent of four. But no religion permits deliberate distortions. To check the misuse, observed Mr. Justice R. M. Sahai, many Islamic countries have codified the personal law "Wherein the practice of polygamy has been either totally prohibited or severely restricted (Syria, Moroceo, Iran, Tunisia, Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of the Soviet Union are some of the Muslim countries to be remembered in this context"). But ours is a secular Democratic Republic, freedom of religion is the core of our culture. Even the slightest deviation shakes the social fibre. But religious practices, violative of human rights and dignity

and sacerdotal suffocation of essentially civil and material freedoms, are not autonomy butoppressiori. Therefore, a unified code is imperative both for protection of the oppressed andpromotion of national unity and solidarity. But the first step should be to rationalise the person law of the minorities to develop religious and cultural amity.


The Government would be well advised. Observed the learned Judge, to entrust the responsibility to the law commission which may in consultation with Minorities commission examine the matter and bring about the comprehensive legislation in keeping with modern day concent of human rights for women."Political history of India shows that during the Muslim regime, Justice was administered by the Qazis who would obvively apply the Muslim scriptural law to Muslims, but there was no similar assurance so far litigation concerning Hindus was concerned. The system, more or less, continued during the time of the East India Company, until 1772 when Warren Hastings made Regulations for the administration of civil justice for the native population, without discrimination between Hindus and Mohamedans, The 1772 Regulations followad by the Regulations of 1781 where under it was prescribed that either community was to be governed by it's personal law in matters relating to inheritance, marriage, religious usage and institutions. So far as the criminal justice was concerned, the British gradually suppressed the Muslim Law in 1832 and Criminal Justice was governed by English common law. Finally the Indian Penal Code was enacted in 1860, Th ard policy continued throughout the British regime until independence and thestory of India was partitioned by the British rulers into the states on the basis of religion. 66 The Supreme Court required the Goverment of India through the Prime Minister of the country to have a fresh look At Ate 44 of the constitution of India and Fendeavour to secure for the citizens a unitorm civil code throughout the territory of India. "The successive governments till-date have been wholly remiss in their duty of implementing the constitutional mandate under Article 44 of the constitution of India".


The Supreme Court also held that the marriage solemnised by a Hindu husband after embracing Islam may not be strictly void marriage under the act because he is no longer a Hindu, but the fact remains that the said marriage would be in violation of the Act which strictly profess monogamy. The Supreme Court further directed the Government of India through the secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice to file an affidavit of a responsible officer in the court in August 1996 indicating therein the steps taken and efforts made by the Government of India, towards, securing a uniform civil code for the citizens of India. A Hindu marriage solemnised under the Act can only be dissolved on any of the grounds specified under the Act. Till the time a Hindu marriage is dissolved under the Act none of the spouses can contract second marriage. Conversion to Islam and marrying again would not, by itself, dissolve the Hindu marriage under the Act.


The second marriage by a convert would therefore be in violation of the act and as such void in terms of Section 494 I. P. C.. Any Act which is in violation of mandatory provisions of law is perse void. All the four ingredients of Section 494 are satisfied in the case of a Hindu husband who marries for the second time alter conversion to Islam. He has a wife living, he marries again. The said marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of the first wife. On August 11, 1995, the Supreme court indicated that its observation on the disability of having uniform civil code was not binding. A division bench comprising Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh and Mr. Justice S. Saghir Ahmad said that "Remarks made in its receipt reasoned judgement about the need for a uniform family code were obiter" and not a mandatory direction the aforesaidobservations were made by the presiding judge Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh during the hearing of a writ petition by Mohd. Karim Ghazi of Delhi a convert Muslim, challenging the prosecution for bigamy under section 494 of Indian Penal Code. The Petitioner's counsel submitted before the court that the impugned judgment required reconsideration by the apex court as it contained certain inherent infirmities. Therefore, he arqued that the matter should be decided by the five-judge constitution bench of the apex court. The court, however, deferred the hearing on the writ, petition and ordered that the petition be listed before the court after it aisposed of review petition on this issue pending before the court.



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