UNIFORM CIVIL CODE – THE MUCH AWAITED LAW

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Ever since the independence citizens of Hindustan have been waiting for the implementation of Uniform Civil Code through which each and every citizen will be governed in the same manner irrespective of their Religion and Caste.

In a country known to be secular it is very important to treat all the religions equally.  Either all are allowed to follow their personal laws or all personal laws are scrapped and a uniform law is applied.

Most of the family law in Hindustan is determined by the religion of the parties concerned. Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist come under the Hindu law, whereas Muslims and Christians have their own Law.  The laws of all the communities except the Muslims (Follow Shariat) are codified by the act of Parliament.

It will be 68 years since independence in another 22 days for us waiting for a unified law just because all the parties and social groups (except BJP and RSS) are opposing the universal code just to appease a particular community and gain their vote.

We would be surprised to note that one of our state Goa already has the Goa Civil Code which is largely based on previous Portuguese Civil Code and introduced in 1870, through which the entire population of Goa is governed.  Some of the major features are:

·        A married couple jointly holds ownership of all the assets owned (before the marriage) or acquired (after the marriage) by each spouse. In case of a divorce, each spouse is entitled to a half share of the assets. However, the law also allows ante nuptial agreements, which may state a different division of assets in case of a divorce. These agreements also allow the spouses to hold the assets acquired before marriage separately. Such agreements cannot be changed or revoked. A married person cannot sell the property without the consent of his/her spouse.

 

·        The parents cannot disinherit their children entirely. At least half of their property has to be passed on to the children compulsorily. This inherited property must be shared equally among the children.

 

·        Muslim men, who have their marriages registered in Goa, cannot practice polygamy. Also, there is no provision for a verbal divorce.

 

·        The Hindu men have the right to bigamy under specific circumstances mentioned in Codes of Usages and Customs of Gentile Hindus of Goa (if the wife fails to deliver a child by the age of 25, or if she fails to deliver a male child by the age of 30). For other communities, the law prohibits bigamy.

 

·        The Roman Catholics can solemnize their marriages in church after obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the Civil Registrar. For others, only a civil registration of the marriage is accepted as a proof of marriage. The Catholics marrying in the church are excluded from divorce provisions under the civil law.

 

·        For Hindus, the divorce is permitted only on the grounds of adultery by the wife.

 

·        The law has inequalities in case of adopted and illegitimate children.

It’s time now that we create such a law that governs each and every citizen in India and no personal law board exists for any community any more.

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