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Modi government considering implementing Uniform Civil Code: Sources

NEW DELHI: In perhaps the biggest move since it came to power, the central government is mulling the introduction of the Uniform Civil Code and has asked the law commission to submit a report to see if implementation is viable in the near future, reports News 18. Responding to the demand, the law commission has promised to consult stakeholders and political parties before taking a decision. Commission head Balbir Singh Chauhan said he would speak to the stakeholders before submitting a report. Sources however admit the decision would be difficult given the upcoming the UP election in 2017.

According to India Today, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda asked the chairman of the panel to examine the issue of implementation. He said: “We have to consult with all the stakeholders about this. The Uniform Civil Code was in the agenda of the BJP too. The question (on its implementation) has been asked so many times in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.” A top BJP leader told India Today, “Unless there is consensus, nothing will happen.”

Article 44 of the Indian Constitution says:

  1. Uniform civil code for the citizens The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India

What is Uniform Civil Code?

Article 44 of the constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of state policy. Directive Principles of State policy, which comprises the Part IV of the Constitution of India, are guidelines for the State and Central governments to help them in framing laws and policies. The BJP had promised to implement the UCC in its election manifesto in 2015.

However, these Directive Principles “shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws”, according to Article 37 of the Constitution which talks about the application of the Principles contained in Part IV.

For all those who don’t know what a Uniform Civil Code is, here’s a little insight that might prove to be useful.

What is Uniform Civil Code?

Article 44 of the constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of state policy. Directive Principles of State policy, which comprises the Part IV of the Constitution of India, are guidelines for the State and Central governments to help them in framing laws and policies. However these Directive Principles “shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws”, according to Article 37 of the Constitution which talks about the application of the Principles contained in Part IV.

In India, there are different set of laws for different communities pertaining to personal matters like marriage, divorce, property, adoption, inheritance and maintenance. The Uniform Civil Code implies covering all these personal laws into one unified set of a secular law, that will be applicable for each and every citizen of India irrespective of his/her religious community.

However, in India, Goa is the only state to have implemented the directive principle on the Uniform Civil Code and converted it into a law called the Goa Civil Code or the Goa Family Law. It is the set of civil laws that governs all the Goans irrespective of the religion or the ethnicity to which they belong.

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