Right Now Times News : After the foundation stone of Ram temple in Ayodhya, it is now being said that the Bharatiya Janata Party has completed two important issues of its election manifesto. First, removing Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir and second, paving the way for the construction of Ram temple.
On the very next day of the foundation stone of Ram temple, people on social media drew the attention of the BJP towards implementing the third promise, ie Uniform Civil Code i.e. ‘Uniform Civil Code’.
Right Now Times News : People started tweeting about it from morning. The most tweeting of these was that of journalist Shahid Siddiqui, who also guessed the date of implementation of the Uniform Civil Code and wrote that the government will complete this work by August 5, 2021.
The debate over the Uniform Civil Code has been going on since the time of independence in India.
Right Now Times News : The framers of the Constitution of India suggested that there should be a single law for all citizens so that their marriage, divorce, property and inheritance and inheritance rights can be brought under it.
These issues have generally been settled by people of different religions at their own level.
Same law debate for every religion
Right Now Times News : This offering was placed in the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’ i.e. Directive Elements of State Policy. Nevertheless, the framers of the constitution felt that an attempt should be made to create a uniform civil code of the country.
Law experts say that the British rulers were also surprised to see the diversity of society in India. They were also surprised that whether they are Hindus or Muslims, or Parsis and Christians, they all have their own separate laws.
For this reason, the then British government started to settle religious matters on the basis of the traditional laws of the same societies.
Right Now Times News : Experts say that during this period many social workers from Raja Rammohun Roy worked to bring change inside Hindu society, in which the campaign to end the provisions like Sati and child marriage was launched.
After independence, the first government formed in India came with the ‘Hindu Code Bill’, which was told that it will work to liberate the women of Hindu society from the shackles imposed on them. But the Hindu Code Bill faced strong opposition in Parliament.
Right Now Times News : The protesting MPs argued that only elected representatives of the people would be able to take a decision on this as it is a matter of the rights of majority Hindu society.
Some people were angry that the Nehru government wants to bind only Hindus, while followers of other religions can follow their traditional practices.
The Hindu Code Bill could not be passed, but in 1952 separate codes were made on the marriage of Hindus and other matters.
Some key codes
- In 1955, the ‘Hindu Marriage Act’ was made in which apart from giving legal recognition to divorce, inter-caste marriage was also recognized. But more than one marriage was kept illegal.
- In 1956 itself, the ‘Hindu Succession Act’, ‘Hindu Adoption and Nutrition Act’ and ‘Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act’ were introduced.
- Sikhs, Buddhists and followers of Jainism were also brought under the purview of the code made for Hindus.
Right Now Times News : Even during the British rule, the marriage, divorce and succession cases of Muslims in India were decided according to Sharia.
The law under which this was done is known as the ‘Mohammedan Law’. Although it has not been explained much, ‘Mohammedan Law’ was recognized as equivalent to the ‘Hindu Code Bill’ and other such laws.
Although this law has been in operation since 1937.
The turning point came from Shah Bano case
Right Now Times News : This legal system was made in the Constitution under the right to freedom of religion i.e. Article 26. Under this, all religious sects and creeds got the freedom to manage public order and morality matters themselves.
The turning point came when Shah Bano, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, divorced her in 1985 and she approached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered her husband to continue giving life support allowance to Shah Bano.
Right Now Times News : There was a lot of uproar over Shah Bano’s case and the Central Government, under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, passed the ‘Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Divorce) Act’ in Parliament which set aside the Supreme Court’s decision in Shah Bano’s case. And without keeping the subsistence allowance for life, it was limited to 90 days after the divorce.
With this came the ‘Civil Marriage Act’ which applies to all the people of the country. Muslims can also marry in court under this law.
More than one marriage was made illegal under this law. Under this Act, those who got married were brought under the purview of the India Succession Act and in the event of divorce, provision was made to keep the same allowance for all communities.
Three divorces and rights of Muslim women
Right Now Times News : The thing to note here is that there are 22 Islamic countries in the world who have completely abolished the practice of divorcing thrice. These include countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria.
Pakistan’s process of bringing a change in the practice of triple talaq began after an incident in 1955 when the then Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra married his personal secretary while being a wife.
This marriage was strongly opposed in Pakistan, after which the government of Pakistan constituted a seven-member commission.
Right Now Times News : Now under the provisions made in Pakistan, it is mandatory for the person to give notice to the President of the ‘Union Council’, after giving divorce for the first time, a copy of which has been made compulsory on the wife.
In violation of these rules, an Islamic country like Pakistan has been given a sentence of one year and an economic penalty of Rs 5000. After a lot of debate and controversy in India, success was finally achieved in making a law against divorce for three times.
Right Now Times News : Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Minority Affairs in the Central Government, claims that thousands of Muslim society women benefited from the new law. He said that due to the law, there has been a significant reduction in divorce cases too.
In the year 2016, the Law Commission of India had sought the opinion of the common people regarding the ‘Uniform Civil Code’ i.e. the Uniform Civil Code. For this, the commission also issued a questionnaire which was published in all newspapers.
In this, people were asked for opinions on 16 points in total. However, the focus was on whether there should be a uniform code for all citizens of the country.
Now turn to the Uniform Civil Code?
Right Now Times News : Questionnaires related to marriage, divorce, adoption, guardianship, alimony, inheritance and inheritance were asked.
The Commission has also sought an opinion on whether such a code should be made which not only gets the same rights but also maintains the diversity of the country. People are also being asked whether the Uniform Civil Code should be ‘optional’.
Right Now Times News : People’s opinion was also sought about some of the practices of society which are prevalent in other communities and castes, including polygamy i.e. polyandry, polyandri (poly husband practice), friendship agreement prevalent in Gujarat.
These practices do not have legal recognition, but they have been approved at some places in the society. There are many provinces of the country where even today some of these beliefs continue to prevail.
Right Now Times News : The ‘Friendship Agreement’ is the only practice in Gujarat that is legally valid as this agreement is approved only by the magistrate’s signature.
The Law Commission had asked whether such beliefs should be completely abolished or should they be controlled by law?
Right Now Times News : The Commission has submitted its report to the government without any suggestion from the people. But it is not yet known what happened at the end of this report.
However, experts feel that just as the government has enacted a law on ‘triple talaq’, in the same way any law can also come on the same civil code.
Right Now Times News : In the year 1860, under sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code, polygamy was prohibited among Christians and in 1955 the Hindu Marriage Act made the second marriage illegal for Hindus whose wife is alive.
In 1956 this law was applied to all but the Hindus of Goa. Muslims were allowed to do four marriages as Muslim personal law was for them. But the practice of polygamy has been a matter of great concern among Hindus as well.
Polygamy is illegal for people of all communities in marriages done under the Civil Marriage Act.
Polyandry (multi-husband system)
Right Now Times News : The practice of polyandry is completely over. Nevertheless, there are some remote areas from where the news of its circulation sometimes comes. This practice was mostly practiced in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, which is the area along the Indo-China border near Tibet.
Many believe that according to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas stayed in this area. That is why it is said that the practice of polyandry has been here. Apart from this, this practice has also been seen in the Izhavas of Malabar in South India, the Nairs of Travancore in Kerala and the Todas tribe of Nilgiris.
In the questionnaire of the Law Commission, suggestions were also sought regarding polyandry practice.
Right Now Times News : Its practice has mostly been in Iran where the Shia sect of Muslims live. This is a kind of short-term agreement between man and woman, which lasts for two or three months.
Now in Iran, it is on the verge of ending. Its prevalence in the Shia community in India is negligible.
Right Now Times News : The relation of Chinna Veedu i.e. small house is basically connected to second marriage. It was once recognized in the society of Tamil Nadu. Even a big politician got married second to his wife.
However, this practice was seen as a great social evil in Tamil Nadu and now it is on the verge of being completely eliminated.
Right Now Times News : This practice has been from Gujarat which has got legal recognition at the local level also because the magistrate approves this ‘written agreement’. In this, the man is always married.
This is why it continues even today. Friendship Agreement means a kind of agreement between two adults which is decided in writing in the presence of a magistrate. This is a kind of ‘live-in relationship’ between man and woman. That is why it is called ‘Friendship Agreement’.
Right Now Times News : Everyone in Gujarat knows that many well-known people are living in this kind of relationship. This practice has been basically a shield to give social recognition to living with a female friend other than married man and wife.
Islamic law did not change with time?
Right Now Times News : Many progressive people feel that the time has come to change with time and the need for many social reforms has become necessary. Sandeep Mohapatra, who is associated with the Sangh, tells the BBC that Hindu society has seen many reforms.
Therefore, many practices have been completely eliminated from time to time. But there have been no reforms at the social level in Muslim society and everything is going on on the basis of very ancient beliefs.
He advocated uniform civil code and said that if it is applicable then women of every society will be benefited in it, who are forced to fall prey to patriarchy.
Right Now Times News : Mahapatra, a lawyer by profession, says that just as the Indian Penal Code and ‘CRPC’ are applicable to everyone, there should be a uniform civil code on the same lines, which should be for everyone – whether they are Hindus, Muslims or people of any religion. Should be
Sandeep Mahapatra says, “The debate starts where we talk about Muslims. There have been no reforms in Muslim personal law since 1937. The Uniform Civil Code was talked about after independence, but it was opposed because of which 44th Article. But it is possible. We also have the example of Goa where the Uniform Civil Code is in force. “
Will the Uniform Civil Code be ‘imposed’ on other religions?
Right Now Times News : Wali Rahmani , General Secretary of the Muslim Personal Law Board, while speaking to the BBC said that India is a country of differentities. Religions, pilgrims and tribes have their own practices. He says that there can be only politics on the uniform civil code but no one can benefit.
He said that all the Dharmavilambi are free to walk according to their culture and paramparas.
Social activist John Dayal says that he supports every law that is empowering women and safeguarding the future of children. But they allege that the format of the Uniform Civil Code will be majoritarian and will be imposed on everyone else.
Right Now Times News : Dayal says that if the government wants to bring a uniform civil code, then its format should be like an umbrella in which there is talk of taking all traditions and cultures together. It should not be imposed because there is religious and cultural diversity in India.
They feel that this will be a big challenge because there are many popular practices in Hinduism itself, which the government cannot afford to give illegal agreement. For example, he says that the saga uncle in South India can marry his real niece.
Right Now Times News : He said, “Will the government ban it? Can the government take the initiative to end Jats and Gujjars or practices prevalent in other societies? I don’t think this will be done so easily. It is a crooked pudding.”