‘Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress’ - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Law has been the basis for the civilized state. For a country like India personal laws have played a very vital role in constructing the society. Post the winnings of the BJP Govt. the Uniform Civil Code had been the talk of the town.
Uniform Civil Code is a directive principle construed in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution. Uniform Civil Code is a concept where by the personal law based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set governing every citizen. Uniform Civil Code regards the secularism in India; it has been the most controversial topic in contemporary politics during the Shah Bano case in 1985.
The debate for a uniform civil code dates back to the colonial period in India. Prior to the British Raj, under the East India Company (1757-1858), they tried to reform local social and religious customs. Lord William Bentinck, the Governor-General of India, tried to suppress sati, the prescribed death of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre, and passed the Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829. This was later extended outside Bengal to all English territories in India.
Many of us had been thinking that only the Muslims and Christians had been following there customary or religiously ordained laws. There had been examples where the customary practices have not vanished in Hindu also. Hindus by and large continue following customary practices prevalent among their respective castes, sects and communities even though laws enacted by the state for the Hindu community have been totally secularized. Today even raising this issue threatens to tear asunder the Indian polity because all self-styled secular parties have tarred this constitutional promise as part of BJP’s Hindutva project.
Hon'ble Indian courts needs to stop adjudicating matters on the basis of personal laws of any community. They need to rest their brains with the existing secular laws only. The secular laws which are made by the law makes should be given the prevailage. These should be applicable to all the citizens that choose to approach secular courts, irrespective of caste, creed, gender or religion. But these laws need to be carefully reviewed and improved in order to make them egalitarian and gender just.
Those who wish to continue with religio-customary practices of their community should be free to do so provided they don’t expect India’s secular law courts to be saddled with the burden of adjudication and enforcement. Let the onus of ensuring compliance with customary laws rest with consensually accepted authority figures of that community – be it the local imam or granthi, the family priest, caste panchayat or the spiritual gurus of the concerned sects. Because even if we see through the aspects of religious fanatics, the customary laws haven’t been of much help to the laymen who suffers from their wrath.
Though these community have flaws in neutral laws. But they have had salutary effects in bringing the women to common platform to fight for what are common problems for woman of all the communities. Therefore, if we are serious about a UCC, let us do away with laws with a communal tag and let the two systems compete with each other on the basis of voluntary compliance.
BE THE CHANGE TO SEE THE CHANGE.