• Citizens belonging to different religions and denominations follow different property and matrimonial laws which is an “affront to the nation’s unity”, the government said in the Supreme Court.
  • Article 44 (Uniform Civil Code) divests religion from social relations and personal law, it maintained.
  • The preliminary submissions are part of recent affidavits filed by the Union Law Ministry to petitions, which was filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking directions from the top court to the government to remove “anomalies” and frame uniform divorce law and uniform guidelines for adoption and guardianship of children.
  • The government said the power to make laws is exclusively that of the legislature. The court cannot give a “mandamus to Parliament to make certain laws”.
  • This is a matter of policy for the elected representatives of the people to decide and no direction in this regard can be issued by the court.
  • It is for the legislature to enact or not enact a piece of legislation. It added Mr. Upadhyay’s petition was not maintainable.
  • The Ministry said it had requested the Law Commission to examine “various issues relating to the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)” and make recommendations considering the sensitivity and in-depth study involved of various personal laws governing different communities.
  • The 21st Law Commission had uploaded a consultation paper titled ‘Reform of Family Law subsequently in August 2018.
  • Elaborating on the common civil code, the government said the Directive Principles of State Policy “creates an obligation upon the state to endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country under Article 44 [of the Constitution]”.
  • The Ministry said the purpose of Article 44 was to strengthen the object of the ‘Secular Democratic Republic’ enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. 

Uniform Civil Code(UCC)

The UCC refers to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession for all citizens, irrespective of religion.

Constitutional provisions suggesting UCC:

Article 44:

This Article of the Constitution makes a reference to a UCC and says, “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

This is in the chapter dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy and is therefore presumed to be advisory in nature.

Article 37:

States that the vision of a Uniform Civil Code (along with other directive principles) is enshrined in the Indian Constitution as a goal towards which the nation should strive, but it isn’t a fundamental right or a Constitutional guarantee.

One can’t approach the court to demand a UCC. But that doesn’t mean courts can’t opine on the matter.


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