You are on page 1of 16


UNIFORM CIVIL CODE - Is it a must? Is it a constitutional goal?

However. at the helm of affairs. the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all Courts within the territory of India. practice and propagate religion is sacrosanct and is thus enforceable by a writ. the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of . Part III of the Constitution of India secures to its citizens ―fundamental rights‖ which can be enforced directly in the respective high courts of the states or directly in the Supreme Court of India by issue of prerogative writs under Articles 226 and 32 respectively of the Constitution of India. under article 214 of the Indian Constitution there shall be a High Court for each State and under Article 124 there shall be a Supreme Court of India. socialist. Today. secular. Likewise. a population of over one billion Indians live in twenty eight states and seven union territories within India. Under the constitutional scheme. The Indian Parliament. legislates on central subjects in the Union and concurrent lists and state legislatures enact laws pertaining to state subjects as per the state and concurrent lists with regard to the subjects enumerated in the Constitution of India. the large Indian population comprised of multicultural societies professing and practicing different religion and speaking different local languages coexist in harmony in one of the largest democracies in the world. about twenty five million Indians called non-resident Indians..INTRODUCTION: THE INDIAN BACKGROUND The Constitution of India enacted on the 26th day of November 1949 resolved to constitute India as a Union of States and a sovereign. amongst others. freedom of religion and the right to freely profess. Within the territory of India. Part IV of the Indian Constitution lays down ―directive principles of state policy‖ which are not enforceable by any court but are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles while making laws. pertaining to the Judiciary. Under Article 44 of the Constitution in this part. spread over an area of 3. reside in foreign jurisdictions. In addition. the Supreme Court may not be bound by its own earlier views and can render new decisions. Simultaneously.kms.28 million sq. Under Article 141 of the Constitution. democratic republic.

B. they have undergone a turbulent change. On 23rd November 1948 a Muslim member. was also banned. However. geographically united India. which was considered a religious practice of Hindus. Anantasayam Iyengar. The Hindu laws. While the founding father of our constitution and Chairman of the Constitution Draft Committee.India. Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer and others favoured the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code. When India attained independence and the issue of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) arose. it was strongly opposed by Muslim fundamentalists like Poker Saheb and members from other religions. When a common Muslim Personal law was formed. realistically speaking. They had the inheritance laws as per Hindus and also the marriage laws as per Hindus. Sati was banned. Earlier. Distinguished members like Shri Minoo Masani. Hansa Mehta and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur put in a note of dissent saying that one of the factors that has kept India . The Kutchi Memons worshipped Hindu Gods and Ali is their tenth avatar instead of Kalki. Child marriages were banned. there were many minority creeds of Muslims who had to accept these laws though they differed from their practices. in Parliament. However. therefore. KM Munshiji. found a compromise by including the enactment of a Uniform Civil Code under the Directive Principles of State Policy in Article . Smt. Dr.Is it a must for India? India has had a long history of personal laws. divorce was introduced. much was debated at the Indian Parliament in 1948. Uniform Civil Code . a uniform civil code remains an aspiration which India has yet to achieve and enact. Till 1935.44. Ambedkar. and inheritance laws were amended. courtesy. the Muslims in India followed different rules according to their practice. gave an open challenge that India would never be the same again if it tried to bring in Uniform Civil code and interfere with Muslim personal law. ―Narabali‖ or human sacrifice. to date.R. supported by eminent nationalists like Gopal Swamy Iyenger. the Congress had given an assurance that it would allow Muslims to practice Islamic personal Law and the architects of the Constitution. widow re-marriage was encouraged. too were different in different parts of the country. Khoja Muslims and Kutchi Memons are examples of this.

Muslim law is based on the Shariat. maintenance. divorce. sects and sex. But. it does. in India. It is high time that India had a uniform law dealing with marriage. The laws governing inheritance or divorce among Hindus are thus.back from advancing to nationhood has been existence of personal laws. laws are codified by an Act of the Indian parliament. The country has already suffered a lot in the absence of a uniform code for all. In India. The society has been fragmented in the name of religions. Even Italy has one. India has a long history of personal laws and it cannot be given up easily. succession. most family law is determined by the religion of the parties concerned Hindus. in all other communities. there are different laws governing rights related to personal matters or laws like marriage. as do the rest of the developed world. adoption and inheritance for different communities. It is rather a pity that the longest and most elaborately written constitution in the history of mankind. which keep the Nation divided into watertight compartments in many aspects of life. Need for a Uniform Civil Code: The need for uniform civil code has been felt for more than a century. because of perverse secularism and perverted communalism. The multifarious castes and creeds and their sets of beliefs or practices are bewilderingly confusing and nowhere is a scenario like in India. Sikhs. Does India need the Uniform Civil Code? Of course. very different from those pertaining to Muslims or Christians and so on. Even at present. such as the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian penal code. it must be realized that the scenario in India is extremely complex. They were strongly in favour of the view that Uniform Civil Code should be guaranteed to the Indian people within a period of five to ten years. Unless a broad consensus is drawn among different communities. allowed. of various personal laws jostling together. Uniform Civil Code has not come into being. based on religion. the Indian constitution is responsible for creation of erosion in society. divorce. the Uniform Civil Code can‘t do much good to the country. inheritance and maintenance. The reality in India is much more complex than Western societies which . whereas Muslims and Christians have their own laws. There are other sets of laws to deal with criminal and civil cases. Jains and Buddhists come under Hindu law. But even after sixty-one years.

with changing living styles along with the time. UCC will help to promote Gender equality. UCC does not insist people from one religion to start practicing rituals of other religions. divorce and adoption Uniform Civil Code will in the long run ensure Equality. there is the demand for a uniform civil code for all religions. It perhaps makes little sense to allow Muslims. to marry more than once. A Uniform Civil Code administers the same set of secular civil laws to govern different people belonging to different religions and regions. not because of any bias.have been totally secularised. but prosecute Hindus or Christians for doing the same. The crusade for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code and homogenizing the personal laws is justified and should receive the support of all progressive thinking Indians. the opponents of UCC argue that this law is poking into their religious practices. but because it is the need of the hour. for example. This supersedes the right of citizens to be governed under different personal laws based on their religion or ethnicity. However. the Muslim law has not. Several liberals and women‘s groups have argued that the uniform civil code gives women more rights. Also. But it needs to come on the heels of a political consensus and that is what needs to be evolved. All it says is. Therefore. It is rightly believed that the Uniform Civil Code is necessary to effect an integration of India by bringing all communities into a common platform which at present is . there should be a Uniform Civil code irrespective of all religions as far s social ethics are concerned. The need is to work on the existing laws in such a way that they don‘t go against any particular faith or religion. The common areas covered by a civil code include:  Personal Status  Rights related to acquisition and administration of property  Marriage. One fails to understand how abiding the law of land can go against religious principles! The claim that the sentiments of the minorities are not considered while implementing a common law is thus beyond comprehension. They feel that this code will affect the religious freedom of minorities. While other personal laws have undergone reform.

There is universal agreement that personal laws.governed by personal laws which do not form the essence of any religion.has been most argued on behalf of women.which will cover the entire gamut of laws governing rights relating to property. Most major religions developed. The practice of dowry and the ill treatment of widows continue till today in many regions. maintenance. and the mother of five children. are skewed against women. true progress in terms of equality can be hindered by many years. Eve was meant to be the root cause of all evil. 2005. In Islam. the staunchest Muslims don‘t let women travel alone. a bias towards women . over time. Politics apart. In the long sittings of the Constituent Assembly. As a result. regardless of the community. These are just a few examples of the deep underlying biases that lie within faiths. wear something revealing or go to work. In Hinduism. Also. the case for a Uniform Civil Code . Let us take a look into the case of Imrana – a 28 years old woman. Such practices are justified via religious texts or customs that simply ―must not be broken‖. It has taken generations of rebellion to inculcate any change within these religions. religious laws cannot be viewed objectively. marriage. Thus to alter such a law one also has to change perceptions regarding core religious fundamentals. In Christianity. it seems none had a notion about the injustice that was being done to women in the name of religion as also to the majority community by retaining certain customs among the minority communities and by giving them certain privileges. adoption and inheritance . divorce. On June 6. was raped by her 69 year-old father in-law . The absence of a uniform code is thus responsible for one calamitous vicissitude in the nation — the subjugation of women in almost all the faiths. They are created from sentiments regarding what is correct according to conceptions of God.treating them as somewhat inferior. India as a nation will not be truly secular unless uniformity is established in the form of rational non-religious codified laws. One reason why personalized laws based on religion is not favoured is because religious laws tend to be highly gender biased. Sati was practiced in some communities for ages till the British formally put a stop to it. A uniform code provides equal rights to men and women. Imrana.

For instance. a local Muslim panchayat (council of elders) asked her to treat her husband Nur Ilahi as her son and declared their marriage null and void! Can any law of the land justify this? The fact that such a verdict could take place in India in the year 2005 is insulting to our legal system. The concept of the ―Hindu undivided family‖. Had she been a Hindu or Christian. Secular India has upheld the freedom of religion at the cost of national unity. in the absence of a uniform code for all religious communities debars other religious communities from becoming a party to the case in the court in which an appeal is made to restrain the religious heads from harassing the members of that community. In India. the law pertaining to succession among Hindus is unequal in the way it treats men and women. A friend. Orthodox practices in Hindu personal law or Christian personal law will also have to undergo changes. The absence of a common code has thus. would be changed under a Uniform Civil Code. even a brother is not accepted a party against injustice if he/she/it does not belong to that faith. Soon after she was raped. the perception that a uniform civil code would change only Muslim personal law is wrong. The freedom to adopt any religion is enshrined in the Constitution. further highlighting the inequality of the situation. In an educated society. and probably came about because the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the only political party that actively supports it. an organization. it has very grave consequences. with respect to succession. it has no serious bearings but. But from it springs the natural corollary of preaching and propagating a religion.Ali Mohammad. Furthermore. deprived the people of having a common cause and is responsible for the subjugation of reformers in the name of religion in the biggest so-called secular nation. secularism has come to mean ―non-intervening in the matter of religion. It seems quite an innocent and logical right. Christian personal law does not allow the succession of wealth to charitable . The politicization results in appeasing the minority by giving them certain rights ultimately to catch their votes or to gain their sympathy. such a verdict would not have occurred.‖ This needs to be relooked and debated as there cannot be any discrimination in the guise of secularism. in an illiterate and uneducated society. especially when the whole game is politicized. The interpretation of laws.

why. many Islamic countries have codified and reformed Muslim personal Law to check its misuse. and other parts of Europe readily accepted the civil laws applicable uniformly to all citizens in the respective countries but do not feel insecure on that account. by 1961 Pakistan. and Singapore all reformed their Muslim laws in the 1970s. Turkey. a Muslim country had actually reformed its Muslim Law more than India had and this remains true today. then. in India should there be such a feeling? Iran. Morocco. There is no reason why India should continue with vastly discriminatory personal laws. our constitution clearly specifies the UCC: "The State shall endeavour to secure the citizen a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India". Iran and even in Pakistan. Polygamy has also been either banned or severely restricted in Syria. Terence Farias. The constitution is thus. U. integration cannot be imbibed. our political leaders or individuals. This also explains why historically changes in personal law have been resisted not just by one community. All we know is that some common law covering issues relating to marriage. the fact is that it is only a ―directives principle‖ laid . the reforms meted out in Tunisia and Turkey helped abolish Polygamy. in his chapter The Development of Islamic Law points out that the 1961 Muslim Family Law Ordinance of Pakistan "makes it obligatory for a man who desires to take a second wife to obtain a written permission from a government appointed Arbitration Council. However. what does our Constitution say about Uniform Civil Code? In article 44. have ever concentrated their efforts towards defining the Uniform Civil Code. although Iran appears to have backslid in this respect. In the end the argument is quite clear. Turkey and even Pakistan have reformed their laws.K. Egypt. but by the ruling orthodoxy in all of them. However. Now. Australia. So. In fact..organizations. succession and property is called Uniform Civil Code." The interesting point regarding Pakistan is that until 1947 both India and Pakistan had governed Muslims under the Shariat Act of 1937. Moreover. South Yemen. very clear that unless a uniform civil code is followed. Muslim countries like Egypt. Besides Muslims who live in U.A. Under a Uniform Civil Code. Uniform Civil Code and the Indian Constitution No one in our country.S. this law may very well be altered.

This shows that although our constitution itself believes that a Uniform Civil Code should be implemented in some manner. Christians. The Apex Court held that the Muslim woman had a right to get maintenance under Section 125 of the Code and also held that Article 44 of the Constitution had remained a dead letter. the Muslim Women (Right to Protection on Divorce) Act. However. there exists no uniform family related law in a single statutory book for all Indians which is universally acceptable to all religious communities who co-exist in India. it does not make this implementation mandatory. India is a unique blend and merger of codified personal laws of Hindus. the debate on having a uniform civil code for India still continues. the directive principles ―shall not be enforceable by any court‖. 1986 which . As has been noticed above. Indian Case Law: Directions to enact a Code. Nevertheless. The demand for a uniform civil code essentially means having one set of laws that will apply to all citizens of India irrespective of their religion. Parsis and to some extent of laws of Muslims. UNIFORM CIVIL CODE: AN ASPIRATION OR AN ILLUSION Article 44 of the Constitution of India requires the state to secure for the citizens of India a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India. they are ―fundamental in the governance of the country‖. Hence.down in the constitution and as Article 37 of the Constitution itself makes clear. Shah Bano Begum reported as All India Reporter 1985 SC 945. In this case a penurious Muslim woman claimed maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after her husband pronounced triple Talaq (divorce by announcing the word ―Talaq‖ thrice). it should presumably incorporate the most modern and progressive aspects of all existing personal laws while discarding those which are retrograde. The Supreme Court of India for the first time directed the Indian Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code in 1985 in the case of Mohammad Ahmed Khan Vs. Though the exact contours of such a uniform code have not been spelt out. To undo the above decision.

Union of India reported as All India Reporter 1995 SC 1531. the question which was raised was whether a Hindu husband married under Hindu law can. but for the Bench's reference to the need for enacting a Uniform Civil Code since after all it was part of the Directive Principles enshrined in the Constitution which the nation was duty-bound to implement -.In the late 1980‘s. in the case of Sarla Mudgal due course. The Supreme Court held that a Hindu marriage solemnized under Hindu Law can only be dissolved under The Hindu Marriage Act and conversion to Islam and marrying again would not by itself dissolve the Hindu marriage.curtailed the right of a Muslim Woman for maintenance under Section 125 of the Court was enacted by the Indian Parliament. It sparked off a huge protest among Muslim leaders who accused the judiciary of interfering in their personal laws. This seemingly innocuous event was a crucial moment in the nation's history. Thereafter. the court also referred to the need to enact a uniform civil code. the Supreme Court reiterated the need for Parliament to frame a common civil Code which will help the cause of national integration by removing contradictions based on ideologies.‖ Thus. it was held that a second marriage solemnized after converting to Islam would be an offence of bigamy under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. Further. Justice Kuldip Singh are pertinent: ―Where more than 80 percent of the citizens have already been brought under the codified personal law there is no justification whatsoever to keep in abeyance. An open and shut case. She demanded alimony from her husband. Shah Bano had knocked on the courts for justice after she felt she was wronged in the way her husband divorced her. Years later the Supreme Court heard the matter and upheld her right to maintenance. According to Muslim law. While doing so. an old and penurious woman. any more. solemnize a second marriage. the introduction of the ‗Uniform Civil Code‘ for all the citizens in the territory of India. who had abandoned her for another woman. Shah Bano was entitled to three months' maintenance after over 40 years of marriage. the views of Mr. In this context. Shah Bano Case: Case Study . it should seem. by embracing Islamic religion. The Directive Principle of enacting a uniform civil Code has .

the Apex Court may review its findings in some other case and issue mandatory directions to the central government to bring a Common civil code applicable to all communities irrespective of their religion. This means that there is no State religion and that the state shall not discriminate on the ground of religion. Secularism and The Uniform Civil Code: The Preamble of the Indian Constitution resolves to constitute a ―Secular‖ Democratic Republic. 2006. Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India as enforceable fundamental rights guarantee freedom of religion and freedom to manage religious affairs. this ought not to deter the efforts of the Supreme Court of India in issuing mandatory directions to the central government to bring a common civil Code applicable to all communities irrespective of their religion and practices in a Secular India.been urged by the Apex Court repeatedly in a number of decisions as a matter of urgency. in a subsequent decision reported as Lily Thomas Vs Union of India. What will be the ingredients of a uniform civil code. Marriage. Even the lack of will to do so by the Indian government can be deciphered from the recent stand stated in the Indian press. However. the uniform civil code will need to strike a balance between protection of fundamental rights and religious principles of different communities. divorce. Since the personal laws of each religion contain separate ingredients. inheritance and maintenance can be matters of a . Unfortunately. 2000(6)Supreme Court Cases 224. How are they to be reconciled. clarified that the court had not issued any directions for the codification of a common civil code and that the judges constituting the different benches had only expressed their views in the facts and the circumstances of those cases. by the Press Trust of India (the Official Government News Agency) that the Indian government does not intend to bring legislation to ensure a uniform civil code because it does not want to initiate changes in the personal laws of minority communities. Hopefully. the Apex Court. At the same time Article 44 which is not enforceable in a Court of Law states that the state shall endeavour to secure a uniform civil code in India. It has been reported in the Asian Age dated August 5. Succession. dealing with the validity of a second marriage contracted by a Hindu husband after his conversion to Islam.

Whether it is the endeavour of the State. Critics of the uniform civil code think that the true principles of Muslim law remain eclipsed by its extensive alleged misreading over the years. ―Muslim Personal Law : Clearing The Cobwebs‖ that ―an Indian Code of Muslim Law based on an eclectic selection of principles from the various schools of Shariat is the ideal solution to all the contemporary problems of Muslim Law‖. the debate is endless and the issue remains unresolved. reported as Judgments Today 2005(5) SC 71. the Apex Court directed the Indian central and state governments to implement all the interim directions issued by the Supreme Court earlier and take effective steps for framing rules and enforcing the provisions . an eminent scholar in his article in The Hindu dated July 30. In Re: Enforcement and Implementation of Dowry Prohibition Act. To sum up. 2006 titled. Judicial Activism in Family Laws: A Turning Point. the mandate of the court or the Will of the people is an issue which only time will decide. it can be concluded that for citizens belonging to different religions and denominations. Thus. Different streams of religion have to merge to a common destination and some unified principles must emerge in the true spirit of Secularism. 2006 in The Hindu. India needs a unified code of family laws under an umbrella of all its constituent religions. Three recent decisions of the Apex Court can be cited in support of this proposition: In. India needs a codified law which will cover all religions in relation to the personal laws of different communities.secular nature and law can regulate them. talaq and divorce practiced by Muslims under personal laws. It is suggested by Tahir Mahmood. it is imperative that for promotion of national unity and solidarity a unified code is an absolute necessity on which there can be no compromise. In another report dated May 11. The plea for a direction to the Central Government to make Uniform Marriage Laws for all communities was rejected on the ground that it is for Parliament to change or amend the law. it has been reported that the Supreme Court of India dismissed a public interest litigation petition challenging the legality of the customs of polygamy.1961. A series of decisions by the Supreme Court of India in the areas of family laws in the recent past has gone to show that the Apex Court is motivating a lot of positive and well meaning reforms which have become necessary over a period of time.

In Gita Hariharan Vs Reserve Bank of India reported as 1999(2) Supreme Court Cases 228. the Apex Court. In John Vallamattom vs. inter caste marriages. 1956 to mean that the mother is also a natural guardian and irrespective of whether the father was unfit or not. irretrievable breakdown of . In Sushil Kumar Sharma Vs Union of India and others. the Supreme Court has also tested various aspects of personal laws on the touchstone of fundamental rights. Dowry Prohibition Act. However.of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Therefore. efficient and committed machinery for the purposes of the implementation of this Act. the provisions of the Act were not in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. upholding the constitutional validity of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. 1986. which fundamental rights guarantee equality of law and right to life and personal liberty. as it was held to be discriminatory against Christians in imposing unreasonable restrictions on the donation of their property for religious or charitable purposes by Will. 1961 by devising measures to create honest. In Danial Latifi Vs Union of India reported as 2001(7) Supreme Court Cases 740. Section 118 of the Indian Succession Act was struck down as unconstitutional. the court concluded the provision does not offend the Constitution of India. reported as Judgements Today 2005(6) SC 266. the court held that the workings of the homes run by state governments for abandoned and destitute children and the process of offering them for adoption need to be seriously improved and the central and state governments would do well to look at these problems with the humanitarian approach and concern they deserve. The views of the Indian Apex Court on the issue of registration of marriages. Theresa’s Tender loving Care Home Vs State of Andhra Pradesh reported as Judgments Today 2005(9) SC11. In St. held that the object of Section 498A is prevention of dowry menace and to check cruelty and harassment of women. the Supreme Court interpreted Section 6 of The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act. a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court gave a categorical finding that in view of their interpretation of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act. All India Reporter 2003 SC 2902. the mother should also be given equal rights as a natural guardian. Union of India. child marriages.

pollution and health of people. thereby bringing within its fold the domain of the family. . uniform civil code and a secular approach have already been referred to earlier. decisions of courts will always suggest reforms to improve the plight of children and women who are affected the most.marriage. The State‘s reluctance to intervene in such patterns of discrimination would amount to a condonation of the violations. This is because genderdiscrimination has socio-cultural underpinnings and is practiced by private actors. particularly when such actions constitute a systematic pattern of violations within the community. i. An important feature of the CEDAW has been to fix responsibility upon the state for actions of private actors. The Convention expressly states that discrimination against women is socially and culturally constructed and encompasses public and private spheres. We could therefore well have reform in family law with the views of the court even if there is opposition from religious communities in respect of personal laws. or the welfare of Indians The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is a unique international convention in that it was based on the need for special formulation that would assert. A legislative setup which is slow to respond to societal changes and a proactive judiciary which is keen to motivate reforms in law is therefore clearly visible on the Indian horizon. The CEDAW has contributed significantly in setting new normative standards for human rights law and practice but it is regrettable that CEDAW has the distinction of being the most reserved human rights convention today. dynamic and open jurisprudential system in India is amenable and flexible to changing needs of people. The Indian judiciary indeed deserves to be hailed in this regard for its yeoman efforts in this regard. protect and promote women‘s human rights. the role of the judiciary in India has been very constructive. The vibrant.e. If a uniform civil Code does not come as a result of legislation. Even in matters affecting environment. state parties have modified or waived obligations in relation to certain parts of the treaty by means of reservation clauses.

India too has ratified CEDAW with a declaration to limit its obligations relating to changing the discriminatory cultural practices within the community and the family. with regard to articles 5(a)1 and 16(1)2 of the Convention. . Article 14 (as a fundamental right) guarantees equality before the laws and equal protection of laws. (c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution. social. whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration. (b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent. irrespective of their marital status. economic and political justice. a profession and an occupation. to the extent of such inconsistency be void. caste. India‘s reservation is an unqualified exemption from state interference into customary practices and it also fails to specify a time frame. Under the Preamble to the Constitution of India the people of India have solemnly resolved to secure all its citizens. sex etc. Hence. (d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents. Position of UCC under Indian Constitution: a critical review. so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this part. or similar institutions where these concepts exist in national legislation. with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women. enjoyment and disposition of property. equality of status and opportunity. in matters relating to their children. (h) The same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership. to bring about an egalitarian. Under the Article 15 it is guaranteed that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion. (f) The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship. on a basis of equality of men and women: (a) The same right to enter into marriage. assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. uniform civil law in the country. in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount. wardship. education and means to enable them to exercise these rights. in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount. acquisition. besides. And Article 1 Article 5(a) reads: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures: To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women. (g) The same personal rights as husband and wife. management. including the right to choose a family name. This reservation can only be construed as being inconsistent with the objectives and purpose of the Convention and an indication of the utter lack of political will on part of the Indian state. Article 13 provides that all laws in force in the territory of India before the commencement of the constitution. (e) The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information. trusteeship and adoption of children. even in face of international duties and obligations. administration. the India declares that ―it shall abide by and ensure these provisions in conformity with its policy of noninterference in the personal affairs of any Community without its initiative and consent‖. 2 Article 16(1) reads: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure. shall.

Maybe. but personal laws have not kept pace. under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act. It may take time. treated equally before the laws and not discriminated only on the ground of sex. Judicial verdicts will keep the momentum going. Analytically speaking. The legislature will ultimately have to perform this onerous duty of drafting the Code. India has an opportunity to be a role model in various aspects of family laws. the path to progress must be chartered with harmony at home. In view of the above provisions the questions arise as to whether a Mohammedan woman married or divorced who is a citizen of India gets equality of status and dignity.44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides that the State shall endeavour or secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of the country. a better role model to emulate may emerge in the Indian sub continent. The executive and the legislature arms of the government in India however now need to contribute to provide the much needed solutions. Codification of a unified civil code may be the ultimate solution. Accommodating personal laws of all religions under such a code is an uphill task. Times have moved ahead. with further changes and amendments in some aspects. Religion will have to keep pace with law. the answers to the social issues discussed above are within the system. 1937 and whether the same is not inconsistent with the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution and not void under Article 13 of the Constitution? If so. The courts in India perform a Herculean task in carving out solutions on a case to case basis. As the largest democracy in the world. . Unity in India exists in its diversity. Other measures will only tide over time. how long should the country wait to enact a Uniform Civil Code to secure and protect all that and the unity and the integrity of the nation? CONCLUSION: A net analysis of the various propositions and viewpoints discussed above drives home the ideal solution that for Indians there is needed one indigenous Indian law applicable to all its communities which coexist democratically. In the e-age today.