Different religions, different sects, different social backgrounds, one law. Why does it seem like a distant dream when it comes to personal laws? Why does it seem like a favour to us when the parliament promises us UCC?? Or why does it offend some?
UCC in political agendas? UCC to gain votes? Is this where something which our constitution explicitly acknowledges? Art. 44 of the Indian Constitution states that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code”. Now some may argue that Directive Principles are just guidelines and are not enforceable. Now, it becomes important to understand, that even though they are not enforceable in the court, they are fundamental to the governance of the country. After 71 years of Independence and 68 years of being a republic, we are still “debating” on the issue which ultimately is given a political essence by most.
What needs to be understood by many is bringing a uniform civil code is not about the next general elections or the next 5 or 10 years, and neither is it about the current government or opposition. It is something which going to affect every citizen of India for the coming future, just like demonetization did. Another aspect of the UCC as perceived by common people is the negligence about it. UCC is not meant to take away rights of one religion while favouring the other. On the contrary, it could be interpreted as an extension of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which grants equality before the law and equal protection of law. The same also means that people in unequal situations are to be treated unequally. So what needs to be understood is even though a Uniform Civil Code is brought into force, the ones who would decide the disputes would still be the competent judges who function on the principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Then how can a law made for the benefit of all be arbitrary?
What also is forgotten by most is the UCC model already exists in the most fantasized location of India – Goa. Another fact is that isn’t the Special Marriage Act already a successful model for UCC?
Our country has reached a point that if someone talks about bringing UCC, their political history, social background and political associations are looked into. The question which should be raised here is why? Why is politics bought up in law making? Why can’t the party in power and the opposition work with a collective goal of public welfare. Why can’t the opposition, who represent some of the people of our country show genuine participation in law making and likewise, why can’t the party in power, agree with the opposition on certain matters it is right on? Or for that fact why the parliament is even divided on those terms? Why can’t all these people who we elect as members of parliament forget their political partes while law making and only look at the public good? Why shouldn’t there be mutual respect and understanding between all people of the parliament? Because at the end of the day, they work for the people and for the country, and not just their political parties.