Uniform Civil Code: Reality and the Prospects

The issue of Uniform Civil Code again came under the hammer of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India recently by way of a PIL filed by a BJP activist to seek directions from the Hon’ble Court to implement the provisions enshrined under Article 44 of the Indian Constitution. Art. 44 of the Constitution of India, a Directive Principle of State Policy provides that the state shall endeavor to formulate Uniform Civil Law to govern the civil matters of the citizens of India. But, however, till now no such law has been made, as it is being opposed by few communities, especially the Muslim community in India. While those, who favour the Uniform Civil Code have been pointing out the two issues in support of their claim to have a common law for all, whereas those who oppose it, claim the protection under the cover of religion and religious rights. The two most relevant issues, which are raised are the validity of Triple Talaq and of Polygamy in Muslim Law or the Shariah. It is being propounded that Muslim male can give Talaq(Divorce) to his wife by just pronouncing the word “Talaq” three times and the divorce is done, whereas the women do not have the right to do so. But in reality it is not so, there is a clearly stated procedure in the Holy Quran for giving Divorce to a woman, and it is not so easy to give divorce as it is being practiced. If the proper procedure is to be followed and valid Talaq is to be pronounced it takes at least 40 days to pronounce a Valid Talaq and there are certain conditions which need to be fulfilled such as giving warning to the wife if she has committed some wrong(e.g Adultry), then try the reconciliation or arbitration and if still the Wife does not stop from doing such Act then After 3 warnings(each after a gap of 10-20 days), the talaq can be pronounced. Moreover, if the wife has committed such wrong and husband wants to give her talaq(if she does not refrain from her wrong acts), he has to keep himself away from her wife until she refrains from her acts or if she continues, then till period of Iddat is over. And, the Talaq is the worst thing which Almighty Allah has Disliked. Now the problem with the Muslims is that they have misinterpreted the Verses pertaining to Talaq and have misused for their own benefit. Another issue is that of the polygamy in Islam. At the outset. I must mention that other communities are more polygamous than the Muslims. To support my argument, I must mention that in the western countries on can have as many mistresses (now commonly called Girlfriends) as he can till his marriage. But the reality is that, even after marriage they are their but under-cover. Now coming back to India, we are also following the trends of Westernization, liberalism and development. So now in the name of liberalism, right to freedom and other so many terms, we are also doing the same thing. Not as many as one can, but at least majority of the young Indian men have the relationship with 2 to 5 women(usually known as Girlfriends). And same is the case with married couples, even though there is no such data available.

Mentioning all this may seem nonsense to most of the people, who read it but I cannot hide the facts. And why I mentioned all this is because, I want to make it clear that “What you cannot do Directly, you cannot do indirectly”. But the reality here is that, “What they cannot do Directly, are Doing it INDIRECTLY”. So there are these double standards amongst most of those who portray the issue of Polygamy as anti-women. No religion in the world has prohibited more that one marriage, but it is the Islam, which clearly mentions in Verse 4:3 And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].

 And the words here are the “Orphan Girls”, that means you can marry more than one orphan girls, so as to help them and protect them from being forced into any criminal activity or prostitution. Moreover, scientifically also, the birth rate of female child is more as compared to male child, so if the female feticide is stopped in India, the female will outnumber the male and then the issue of polygamy will be applicable and can be implemented. However, it will become out of the context to explain more on this.

There are various other issues which are being raised such as the rights of women in Islam to have education, right to give or seek divorce, right to life etc. But these are all mentioned clearly in the Islamic Scriptures in very lucid and understandable terms and there is no other religious scripture in the world which has recognized any right of the women. Very limited voting rights of women were recognized in Finland, Iceland, Sweden and some western states of U.S in the late 19th century after several protests and movements by women organisations. In India also, women were forced to die in the name of Sati; they did not have the  right to re-marriage. Moreover, women were treated as mere property till the social reformers like Ram Mohan Roy, Mahtma Gandhi and many others stood against this and fought for the rights of the women. So the problem here is not with the religion or the religious scriptures but with the people. What we have done, is that we have shun our responsibilities and are looking on a few religious Gurus to dictate us on the religious matters. As a result of which most of the people don’t even know the names of their religious books but are busy in making comments on other religions and creating chaos, dividing the people on communal lines and spreading the fear among the general public.

Therefore, now it seems that the main question of Uniform Civil Code can be dealt with very simply here onwards, as I hope the basic misconceptions have been cleared to some extent. I being the Muslim, am in favour of the Uniform Civil Code, and I firmly believe that the Common Code should be discussed, debated and drafted including in it the best provisions relating to the civil matters. And I can say it very emphatically that there is no Religious Scripture in the world except  the Holy Quran, which has defined the law for everything in very clear and lucid terms. However, it has been misinterpreted by majority of the Muslims as well as the other communities. It is pertinent to mention here, that in India as well the Muslim Personal Law is not fully in accordance with the provisions of the Quran and the Sahih Hadith. The matters relating to rights of both men and women, as well as the children and the parents including those of the neighbours are enshrined in the holy scriptures  of Islam, i.e to say The Hoy Quran and the Sahih Hadith. If all those provisions are codified in the form of a Uniform Civil Code in India also, there will be resistance from any quarter of  the Indian society. However, the question as to the procedure of the marriage should be left to the communities. Therefore, to conclude with, I urge everyone to go through all the Holy Scriptures and find out the best amongst it and codify it in the form of a binding law.

By MUZZAFFR ALI,

Student of B.A; LL.B 5 Year

@ The Law School, University of Jammu, Jammu

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