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UCC: A Boon Or Bane For Indian Women

The Uniform Civil Code is a vision to contribute to a uniformly structured legislature that will reserve all the aspects revolving around the personal religious and civil laws of every religion in India. The UCC will grant uniform personal laws to every religion to attain secularism and override personal laws of different religions, races, caste, creed etc.

The laws in India at present, are very diverse in terms of marriage, divorce, succession, adoption, guardianship etc. UCC aims to protect the interests of the vulnerable sections which includes minority religions and women and to promote nationalistic zeal through unity. Different personal laws in India govern personal matters like the Hindu Marriage Act 1956, Succession Act 1956, The Sharia Act 1937, Indian Divorce Act 1969, etc. There is no uniformity in personal laws as they confer unequal rights depending on religion or gender.

Comparisons of various Personal Laws
The Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi Personal Laws to understand any present distinctions in their personal laws. Following are the instances where such differences could be explicitly seen

Indian Hindu Laws

In India, even after being a stringent follower of Equality, we are yet to introduce the concept of Matrimonial Property where the interests of women are safeguarded and protected. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 Act gives mothers a secondary status and a subordinate position in the context of guardianship.

Indian Muslim Laws

Under the Muslim law, if there is no free consent by the bride then the marriage is considered to be void and illegal but the same provision is not applicable to a Hindu bride.

The volume of property inherited by a women hair is half the quantum of property inherited to a male hair.

Before the landmark judgement of the Honorable Supreme Court in Shah Bano Begum case[12], divorced Muslim women were not entitled to enjoy a single rupee in contrast to the Hindu divorced women.

Parsi Laws

Under the Parsi law when a Parsi woman dies, her son and daughter have an equal share in the property but on the other hand, the daughter gets an unequal share when she has to acquire her Father's property.

Further, if a Parsi woman marries a non Parsi man, she is not accepted as a Parsi anymore and she is banned from following all the religious practices as a Parsi.

Under the Parsi laws, it has been stated that the children of a Parsi Zoroastrian man married out of the community are accepted in the Parsi community and are called as Parsis but the same is not the case of a woman. In case, a Parsi Zoroastrian woman marries outside her community, her children are not accepted as Parsis and such children are also denied entry to the Fire Temple.

Anti Women Practices Prevailing In Personal Laws


As per Muslim laws, a man cannot remarry his wife after he divorced her, unless the wife is married to another man and gets divorced from that man or after the death of second husband.

The process of making the woman permissible for her first husband by giving her marriage to a third person with a pre condition is known as NIKAH HALALA also known as TAHLEEL marriage abused.

This issue came before the Bombay high court when singer Adnan Sami challenged the validity of his marriage. He married his wife in 2001, divorced her in 2004 and then remarried her in 2007. Since halala was not performed by the parties, the family court held the second marriage to be invalid.

The Bombay high court, however, held that a wife is not obliged to perform halala. Halala is mandatory only if the couple divorced using triple talaq, the court said.

Imagine a women who has been divorced by her husband using triple talaq in anger or drunken state and now they want to be married again. The is left with two choices either she marry another man consummate the marriage and hope that the second also divorces her so that she can marry her first husband or she can remarry her first husband without performing HALALA and lose all her matrimonial rights. Women who seek halala services are at risk of being financially exploited, blackmailed, and seually abused.

Triple Talak

A Muslim man in could legally divorce his wife by proclaiming three times consecutively the word 'TALAK'. A triple talaq divorce is valid even if the husband says talaq three times on the phone, in a letter or even on WhatsApp.

The use and status of triple talak in India has been a subject of controversy and debate. The practice have raised issues of justice, gender equality, human rights and secularism.

The Muslim women protection of rights on marriage act, 2019 passed on July 2019 after a very long discussion and opposition finally got the verdict to all women. It made triple talak illegal in India on august 1 2019.

Age Of Marriage For Women

IN India the age of marriage is not uniform. The legal eligible age of marriage for women 18 while for men this age is 21. In Muslims age of girls is not defined. Currently the age of marriage is 21 common for all.

Why One Law For Everyone

For creating a common identity and sense of belonging among all citizens. To reduce the communal and sectarian conflicts that arise due to different personal laws. In personal laws women did not get their rights after divorce or at the time of death of husband but with the implementation of Uniform Civil Code they will get their rights, children can have their future bright and even it will also help our country to grow and to develop. UCC would modernise and reform the outdated and regressive practices that are prevalent in some personal laws such as triple talaq, polygamy, child marriage, etc.

In India most of the Muslim women get restrained from their right to property, dowry settlement and divorce. Muslim law allows polygamy and is a patriarchal law allowing a man to give divorce to his wife by allowing Triple Talak which has been abolished.

However Muslim women have been given no right to file for divorce without the permission of their husbands as given in Quran and hadiths. Gender justice cannot be achieved through personal laws, especially in the case of Muslim women. Muslim personal law, as followed in India, is inherently biased against women and many times leads to their exploitation. UCC speedy justice can be delivered and all people will get equal status and there would be no discrimination.

UCC would ensure gender justice and equality by removing the discrimination and oppression faced by women under various personal laws. It would grant equal rights and status to women in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, maintenance, etc. It would also empower women to challenge the patriarchal and regressive practices that violate their fundamental rights. It would simplify and rationalise the legal system by removing the complexities and contradictions of multiple personal laws.

It would harmonise the civil and criminal laws by removing the anomalies and loopholes that arise due to different personal laws. It would make the law more accessible and understandable for the common people.

Countries With Uniform Civil Code

Countries like Canada, USA, Australia, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia etc, adopted the Uniform Civil Code for their society, culture, religion and to remove discrimination amongst the communities.

Milestone Of Cases

Cases Governing The Muslim Law

Mohd Ahmed Khan Vs Shah Bano Begum

Mohd Ahmed Khan (the appealing party) who was a lawyer by profession, married to Shah Bano Begum (the respondent) in 1932, had three sons and two daughters from this marriage. In 1975, when Shah Bano�s age was 62 years, she was disowned by her spouse and was tossed out from her marital home together with her children.

In 1978, she filed an appeal in the presence of Judicial Magistrate of Indore, because she was abandoned from the maintenance of Rs. 200 per month, which was guaranteed to be provided by him. She demanded Rs. 500 per month as maintenance. Subsequently, the husband gave her irrevocable triple talaq on November 6th, 1978, and used it as a defence to not pay maintenance. The magistrate, in August 1979, directed the husband to pay an entirety of Rs 25 per month as maintenance.

Shah Bano in July 1908 made a plea to the High Court of M.P, to change the sum of maintenance to Rs. 179 each month, and high court increased the maintenance to the said amount i.e. Rs. 179 per month. The same was challenged by the spouse within the Supreme Court as a special leave petition to the High court's decision. Husband gave an irrevocable talaq (divorce) to her which was his prerogative under Islamic law and took up the defense that since Shah Bano had ceased to be his wife and therefore he was under no obligation to provide maintenance for her as except prescribed under the Islamic law which was in total Rs.5400.

The issue was finally taken up by Supreme Court and it decided it in favour of Shah Bano using secular Criminal Procedure Code regardless of religion. Shah Bano won the Case and got the Right to get Alimony from her Husband.

This was the case of a Triple Talaq verdict which according to me was a historic verdict as it maintains the truth and faith of the people in the judiciary as in this case, "Justice and equality has overcome religion". According to me this lawsuit was milestone in judiciary as it was courageous, bold, impartial and unique decision. This judgement has marked the importance of maintenance which should be provided to the divorced Muslim women who are not in the condition to earn and maintain themselves.

Even though the verdict of Shah Bano case given by the Supreme Court was invalidate by the endorsement of Muslim Women Ac[6]t, the court held in further verdict's that divorced Muslim. women, under Section 125 can affirm maintenance or alimony from their former husband, or apart from this divorced Muslim women can assert or claim for round some money or amount under Muslim Women Act. The Supreme Court even though after dirty politics passed the judgement that was impartial and at last it had maintained the trust and faith of citizens in judiciary.

Cases Governing The Indian Christian Law

Mary Roy belonged to the Syrian Christian community and was married to bengali man against her family's wishes. She divorced her husband at 30 when she came to know that he was an alcoholic. Thereafter she moved to her father's cottage where she had decided to raise her two children. after the death of her father she was told that she has no claim over the property as it comes under Travancore Christian Succession Act of 1916. Mary Roy saw this as a violation of her rights to equality guaranteed under Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.

Roy filed a suit against her brother George Isaac in the lower court in 1960 but it was denied after which she appealed in the Madras High Court against the order of lower court. The verdict came in her favour and the High Court directed that the property is handed over to Mary Roy by her family.

After fighting for over four decades Mary finally got her equal share of her father's property. She fought not just for her rights in her father's property but for all the Christian women who were denied their right to property .

Benefits of UCC
With the implementation of healthy and robust personal laws and by equality embracing both men and women, there will be no gender biases in our sovereign democratic republican country thus promoting gender parity. There will be no place for special privileges or politicization of issues on the grounds of religion or community. Young generation and students would be quite motivated and inspired to observe that their homeland has weighed humanity, equality and modesty on the same scale.

Also through the introduction of UCC, we might enlighten the stereotypes behind every culture and faith.

Everybody would be able to enjoy the same rights as mentioned under one discrete law. Thus, this will lead to an increase in the fulfilment of the Constitutional objectives like Unity, Integrity and Fraternity.

But on the other hand, such an independent and discrete law for all the citizens might lead to a feeling of encroachment on personal freedom of the Indian citizens. UCC might also question certain age-old and downtrodden issues which might lead to unnatural consequences and risks in the state.

Such an act by the legislature might also prove to be violative of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution and may also lead to internal aggression, rebellions and communal wars. Moreover, the scope of religious freedom will be reduced and the administration of the country will not remain focused on its implemented objectives.

A woman's liberty, authorization and upliftment has always triggered a huge discussion and debate in the Indian society but hardly any major or revolutionary development has been recorded so far. There has been an enormous lapse in the Hindu laws but the Muslim, Christian and Parsi laws still continue to be very stringent in their practice. This is the sole reason that has kept a woman at the grace of the other gender throughout their life.

Thus, UCC is undoubtedly the need of the society in today's contemporary times but such a drastic revolution will not take place in just one day, it will take years and years for UCC to come into effect. The measure of UCC has to be an evolution and not a revolution. Hence, Uniform Civil Code is now halfway on their complete implementation to abolish injustice in the patriarchal society. It might seem that UCC is a bane for society but over a period of time, by maturation and amendment of certain personal laws it will definitely prove to be a great boon for women as well as the country.

Thus, the Indian nationals cannot exhaustively rely on the Parliamentarians to pass a bill and implement a law. Instead, it is the primary liability of the Judiciary as well as the Honorable Supreme Court to widen the outlook and bring about gradual and progressive evolution of various personal laws through their interpretation of provisions and statutes.

Such amendments before getting into force need to be firstly, analyse and secondly, accepted by the society as a measure of healthy development for the public at large. Thus, at a future date we as a country might reach this stage where the personal laws that are in conflict with the Fundamental objectives of the Constitution are eradicated through step-by-step amendments and that would be a day when we would address India as a fully developed country.

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