In the wake of a renewed demand for a Uniform Civil Code, Moumita Chaudhuri decodes the contentious code that would have a common personal law for all communities
The demand for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) — wherein all personal laws in the country would be guided by one set of laws applicable to all communities — has been raised from time to time. Recently, Union minister for agriculture Radha Mohan Singh brought it back into the public discourse, throwing open the debate around a UCC once again. Of course, Singh’s comments immediately evoked a rush of protests and the charge that the BJP government at the Centre wanted to steamroll the legislation without taking the sensitivities of particular communities into account.
Despite the criticism, however, there are many who advocate the adoption of just such a code. A “civil code” refers to all the laws that deal with matters such as marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption and inheritance, and property rights in different communities.“These personal laws are merely the codification of each and every community’s cultural practices and customs and governs family-related issues,” says Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, Delhi.