Saturday, January 28, 2023

Uniform Civil Code: Make India truly democratic and equalitarian


The Delhi High Court’s order on Friday, in which it stressed the need for a Uniform Civil Code, is a welcome push to a much-awaited legislation.

Uniform Civil Code is one piece of legislation that India has been deprived of for such a long period of time, despite the fact that it has been included in the Directive Principles since the time Constitution was adopted.

Article 44 of The Constitution of India 1949 says: “The State Shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

It is really astounding and shameful that the citizens have not had a uniform law for civil matters till date.

Equality and equal application of law is fundamental to any democracy. It should be the first guiding principle for any civilised society. You cannot have separate set of laws for your own citizens and claim to be civilised.

What the then Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru did by ramrodding the Hindu Succession Act in 1956, thus effectively reforming the Hindu personal law and giving women greater property rights and ownership, was unexceptionally forward-looking.

He ignored the objections of stalwarts like Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Purushottam Das Tandon, who wanted the reforms to come from within.

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However, the same Nehru started pussyfooting when the issue came to reforming the Muslim Personal Laws.

Separate civil laws for Hindus, including Sikhs and Jains, and Muslims is an anachronism that makes India a very backward country that cannot have a common law for all its citizens.

More astounding is the fact that criminal laws in India are uniform and apply equally to all.

No Islamic organisation has ever demanded that the community be allowed to punish thieves or criminals by cutting off finger or stoning to death.

However, all take to the streets to defend the right to have a separate set of civil laws. Only separate civil laws is what they want to apply to them.

This may be appealing to some people, but no sane person, with even a modicum of education and desire for progress, would like to defend the need to have separate sets of laws for different communities.

Bringing religion into the argument is not only misguided, but sheer foolishness.

The same people who demand separate civil laws do comply with common criminal law and the religion is not affected.

They also accept both civil and criminal laws of different host countries when they go to visit western countries. Their religion remains unaffected in that case.

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Even in Goa, there is a uniform civil law and muslims living there do abide by it. Their religion remains unaffected too.

Moreover, it is not that any UCC will only apply to Muslims. It will also apply to Hindus and their separate personal laws too would be replaced by a new set of laws.

Even Hindu Succession Act has several loopholes and those need to be plugged. It is not that Hindu personal laws do not require changes. Those too need to be modernised and brought in sync with the modern times.

So, the argument that enactment of a common civil law will, in any way, have any effect on any religion is mischievous.

The fact is that separate civil laws for Muslims favours the patriarchy and the patriarchal forces of any community, usually, are not very willing to part with their traditional privileges so easily.

Even Hindus of those times had opposed codified Hindu personal laws when those were first proposed.

Most astounding is the support that the Islamist organisations are getting from leftists, communists and naxals to oppose enactment of a Common Civil Code.

One reason for this is that they are accustomed and trained to oppose every move of the government in power.

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The other reason is their innate guile and anti-people, anti-democratic, anti-order tendencies.

It is a bit rich seeing the same communists who even demand freedom to secede from a country also oppose laws that make women more empowered, or make triple talaq or polygamy illegal.

For sounding logical they advance spurious arguments, like – “uniformity is not the guarantee of equality”.

As if, separate laws are the guarantee of equality. Even milk is not the guarantee of good health. So, mothers should stop feeding their babies? What say, comrades?

You can trust communists to churn out high-sounding illogical arguments to defend anything.

After all, in 1942 they had opposed Quit India movement, in 1948 they said – Yeh Azadi Jhooti Hai – and in 1962 they supported China and declared India an aggressor. And at all those times, they had churned out high-sounding and moralistic principles to defend their idiotic decisions.

The same very marxists at one point had even opposed computers in factories and at work places. Let that sink in.

It should be no surprise, if in 2021 they oppose a uniform civil code for all citizens.

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