Manthana Karnataka, a forum for intellectual discussions had organised a programme “Talk and Discussion on Uniform Civil Code” on Sunday, July 30th, 2023 at MLA college in Malleshwaram, Bangalore. The discussion was led by a talk from the Guest Dr. Ram Madhav, Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Sadasya, RSS & President, India Foundation, New Delhi.
Dr. Ram Madhav began by quoting the infamous Shah Bano case, in which, the Supreme Court had directed the husband of Shah Bano to provide alimony for the divorcee Ms. Shah Bano. However, the Muslim Personal Law Board referred to Shariat to deny her alimony citing that there is no provision under Muslim personal law to provide alimony to the divorced wife.
Most important aspect of the Shah Bano case judgement is that the supreme court directed the government to come up with a uniform civil code for the citizens of this country. The then government did not show any inclination to work on it, rather it overturned the decision in the parliament due to political compulsions.
He also referred to the makers of the Constitution enshrining the need of a Uniform Civil Code in the Constitution. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had ensured that this is part of Article 44 of the Constitution, which says “State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.” He went on to explain that the makers of the Constitution had opined that UCC is necessary to overcome the discriminatory laws against women. Dr. Ram Madhav quoted that there are 4 instances where the top court had directed the governments (at various times) to introduce the Uniform Civil Code.
He explained how Hindu code bill in the 1950s helped reform Hindu personal law and ensured that women get an equal share in civil matters. He also quoted a case of 1995, in which a Hindu man converted to Islam to marry for the second time without divorcing his first wife. The grossly discriminatory laws against women was the highlight of his example.
The Shariat which is referred to by Muslim personal law board was introduced by the British in 1937 and there is a need for reforms as quoted by the top court of India. The current lot of politicians who oppose the Uniform Civil Code citing that it is divine and shouldn’t be changed is baseless, since this act was passed by the British.
He pillared his talk on 4 main aspects of the need of a Uniform Civil Code. Marriage, Divorce, Property Inheritance rights and Adoption. The Civil code itself has nothing to do with any religion; it has the spirit to uphold women rights, equality and wellbeing of every citizen. He also expressed his views that this bill is still being worked on by the Law Commission of India and this would be introduced after discussions with stakeholders; he also mentioned that a draft is not yet ready for the people to jump to conclusions.
Courtesy : VSK BHARATH