Wednesday, August 27, 2008


There are more than one billions of people living in India with different religion. Some of them Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains, Buddhist, and many more, that’s why India is called as multi religious country, but all of them are following the codified laws made by the government of India. The constitution of India is applied all over the territory of India. If there is any criminal case, then it is govern by Indian penal code with according to the procedure of CrPC(criminal procedure code), and if there is any civil case , then it is govern according to civil procedure code. But if there is any case related to person’s status or relationship or rights or privilege in regard to certain matters such as succession, marriage etc, by virtue of his belonging to a particular community or group, then it will govern by according to his religion personal laws. This is called as personal laws applied in India.

In early periods, in India, the Hindus were governed by customs, mitakshara law, dayabhaga law, etc. there was diversification throughout India.
During Muslim rule in India, Islamic law were forced basing Quran, Sunna, Ijmaa and Riyas. Muslim personal law of marriage, dower, divorce maternity, guardianship, gifts, pre- emption, will, inheritance etc are different from Hindus
During the British period in India, the British rulers did not interfere into personal laws though they codified: THE INDIAN PENAL CODE 1860, TRANSFER OF PROPERTY 1862, INDIAN CONTRACT ACT 1872, INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT 1872, CIVIL PROCEEDURE CODE 1908 etc., according to the recommendation of law commissions.
After independence, the Indian government enacted by codifying Hindu laws as HINDU MARRIAGE ACT 1955, HINDU SUCCESSION ACT 1956, HINDU ADOPTION AND MAINTENACE ACT 1956 etc.
Indian Christians have their own personal laws under the INDIAN CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE ACT 1872, and, DIVORCE ACT 1869.
Parsis have their personal law under THE PARSIS MARRIAGE ACT AND DIVORCE ACT 1936, and Muslims have their personal law in India under MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW (shariat) APPLICATION ACT 1937 and MUSLIM WOMEN (protection of rights on divorce) ACT AND RULES 1986.

Now the question is, Are these personal laws in India really affects our judicial system?
I can say, this is a very debatable topic; we debating from independence to present day but there could be no result yet come.

Article 44 of the constitution of India which states that “the state shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a ‘uniform civil code’ throughout the territory of India’, constitution of India lays down the administration of a uniform civil code for its citizens as a directive principles, but has not been implemented till now.
Towards a uniform civil code, those wishing to reform the Muslim personal law have often cited Muslim countries as examples, that such reforms is possible. The interesting point regarding Pakistan is that until 1947 both India and Pakistan had governed Muslims under the SHARIAT ACT OF 1937. However by 1961, Pakistan a Muslim country had actually reformed its Muslim law more than India had and this remains true today also.
It is reiterated that this code is not biased towards a religion but to brings in a level-playing platform among the citizens of India. Muslims in other countries accept uniform civil laws where they do not consider this as a defeat whereas in India it is.
It is a pity that in a democratic and secular state, people have different laws based on their religion. Is it secular to have different laws for different religion or it is secular to have a uniform law?
The personal law in India is one of the major causes of justice delay, as the superior court has to confirm the personal laws first, before giving any decision.
To make uniform civil code healthy, Hindus should not treat this as a weapon against minorities. Meanwhile, the minorities should not feel that they lose by bringing this law. Whether, this can be possible or not only time will tell us.

Mohammed Farhan Khan

1 comment:

Anand Prakash Mishra said...

Good Article Farhaan!
Now you may try to write a part II of it including Supreme Court Judgements and possible pros and cons of implementing UCC....
Take care!