This research project deals with the uniform civil code (UCC) which has been subject of intense debate in India, aiming to combine individual laws governing various religious sections. The effects and viability of the UCC in India are the subject of this academic investigation. It gets going by giving an overall synopsis of current individual regulations and the foundation behind the UCC issue. The advantages and disadvantages of implementing the UCC as well as the difficulties involved, are then discussed. The UCC- related provisions of constitution and judicial decisions are also examined in this research study. The conclusion includes a thorough evaluation of the viability and potential impact of a UCC in India.

#Personal Laws #Gender Parity #Unification


Uniform civil code (UCC), stated in the Indian constitution under Article 44 [1]of the directive principles of state policy, stipulates that it is the obligation of the state to ensure Uniform Civil Code for people across India. It stands for “One Nation- One Law”, irrespective of faith. The major goal of the Uniform Civil Code is to substitute personal laws that are based on the sacred texts and customs of each important religious communities in India. The concept of the Uniform Civil code is fundamentally linked to the debate over India’s current secularism. This is because secularism might be read in several different ways, and so, a thorough analysis is necessary. Interpreting the essence of the Indian constitution, which addresses numerous cultural, social, and religious right of Indian people, however, reflects the vision of India’s political scholars. The value of justice, equality and democracy are enriched in the Indian Constitution, which also offers several protections for the rights of society’s most vulnerable groups. It is vital to understand the application of UCC in order to implement it to benefit society.


India is a country where many different religions are practiced including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Sikhism, etc. India advocates Secularism, as it is a fundamental principle of the constitution and was added to the preamble in 1976 with the adoption of the 42nd amendment. The term “secular” denotes a society in which neither the state nor its citizens would be subjected to prejudice based on their chosen faith. The constitution grants the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion to its populace. Additionally, articles 25 [2]and 26 [3]of our constitution recognize this as a basic right. Religious faith has always played a very significant role in the history as the facts state that even the partition of India and Pakistan really occurred as a result of religion. Since ancient times, political institutions have used religion as a weapon and as a catalyst for war. Different personal laws regulate various religions in India.


The gathering of secondary data was done by the researcher as part of a doctrinal investigation. In order to present a thorough picture, a variety of sources, including articles, comments, statements and other publications, were used to combine different jurists’ points of view. To find trends in the paper’s judicial declarations, case laws were also used.


In India, there are three main categories of personal law: Islamic law- governing the Muslims, Christian law- governing the Christians, and Hindu Law governing the Hindus, although the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956 governs the marital matters for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Below mentioned are a brief overview of different personal laws in India.

  • Hindu Personal Law: Given that it applies to the majority of Indians, this is arguably the area of personal law that is most extensively used. The Dharmashastras, a collection of traditional Hindu texts, serve as the bedrock for Hindu personal law. Numerous topics are covered under Hindu personal law, such as succession, adoption, inheritance, and divorce.
  • Muslim Personal Law: The Quran and the Sunnah, two of the holy books of Islam, constitute the foundation for Muslim personal law. However, there are a number of notable variations, Muslim and Hindu personal law address many of the same topics. For instance, polygamy can be practiced under Muslim personal law yet forbidden under Hindu personal law.
  • Christian Personal Law: Christian personal law is centered on the Church’s doctrine and the Bible. Hindu and Christian personal law both deal with a broad spectrum of similar subject matter, despite there are a few noteworthy differences. For instance, Hindu personal law permits divorce, but Christian personal law prohibits it.
  • Parsi Personal Law: Zoroastrianism serves as the foundation for Parsi personal law. While Hindu personal law addresses an identical variety of topics, there are some significant distinctions among Parsi and Hindu personal law. As an example, Hindu personal law accepts marriage between different faiths, but Parsi personal law prohibits it.
  • Special Marriage Act: In 1954, the Special Marriage Act, a secular statute, was passed. Couples belonging to different faiths are permitted to get married under a single set of regulations in accordance to the Special Marriage Act. Hindu personal law addresses a variety of difficulties, however there are some significant distinctions between it and the Special Marriage Act. Polygamy, for instance, is prohibited under the Special Marriage Act but permitted by Hindu personal law.

It’s essential to keep in mind that these are only a few of India’s personal laws. Other religious groups, such the Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, also have personal rules. India’s personal laws are an intricate and fragile affair. The issue of whether or not to draft a unified civil code (UCC) is one that is fiercely disputed. Irrespective of their faith or cast, all Indian people will be subjected to the Uniform Civil Code’s uniform set of laws. While UCC opponents claim that it would infringe on religious freedom and cultural diversity, supporters of the UCC contend that it would contribute to gender equality and secularism.


It can be observed that even if all Hindu’s in the constituent Assembly did not favour UCC, still UCC is inextricably linked to Muslim resistance as the country believes that the uniform personal set of laws will be favourable to the Hindus and will encourage the majoritarian drive. Muslims have shown continuous reluctance as they believe that their faith grants hem the right of inheritance, succession, and other personal affairs- if UCC will be implemented they will have to forfeit their birth right. However, Hindus have comparatively been more accepting and tolerant towards the conception of uniform law.

The debate for a uniform civil code dates to the colonial period in India.


The Lex Loci Report of October 1840[4]– The need and demand for uniformity within the codification of Indian law with respect to crimes, evidence, and contracts was underlined. It was moreover expressed that such codification should not apply to the personal laws of Muslims and Hindus. No interfering with religious matters was guaranteed even in the queen’s proclamation from 1859. Because of this, while criminal laws were codified and standardized over the nation, personal laws are still controlled by special rules that are significant to particular localities.


During the constitutional drafting process, notable leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar advocated for the implementation of a uniform civil code (UCC). However, due to opposition from religious fundamentalists and limited awareness among the masses at the time, the UCC was included in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) under Article 44. Several reforms were introduced during this period, including:

  • The Hindu Code bill: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar drafted this bill to bring reforms to Hindu laws, which aimed to legalize divorce, prohibit polygamy, and grant inheritance rights to daughters. Despite facing significant opposition, a watered-down version of the bill was eventually passed through four separate laws.
  • Succession Act: Initially, the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 did not grant daughters inheritance rights in ancestral property. They were only entitled to seek sustenance from a joint Hindu family. However, this disparity was addressed through an amendment to the Act on September 9, 2005.
  • “Neither necessary nor desirable at this stage” [5]: The 21st Law Commission in its working paper said that a UCC is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”. It observed that “Difference does not always imply discrimination in a robust democracy. So, a unified nation does not necessarily need to have uniformity.”
  • Justice to all is a far more satisfactory way of dispensing justice from case to case.”- CJI (J. Chandrachud): In Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum (1985)[6], A 73-year-old woman called Shah Bano was divorced by her husband using triple talaq (saying “I divorce thee” three times) and was denied maintenance. She approached the courts and the District Court, and the High Court ruled in her favour. This led to her husband appealing to the Supreme Court saying that he had fulfilled all his obligations under Islamic law. The Supreme Court ruled in her favour in 1985 under the “maintenance of wives, children and parents” provision (Section 125) of the All India Criminal Code, which applied to all citizens irrespective of religion. Further, it recommended that a uniform civil code be set up.


The most common reason why people of India support the UCC is because they believe that it would help to modernize India and bring it in line with other developed countries. They argue that the current system of personal laws is outdated and discriminatory, and that the UCC would help to create a major just and equitable society. There are several more reasons why people support the Uniform Civil Code in India like: –

  • GENDER PARITY: It is a well-known fact that India has always believed in a patriarchal society and so even the personal laws are discriminatory towards the women. Laws pertaining to succession, inheritance and divorce, usually give men upper preferential standing. If it were left to the personal laws- Sati system and triple talaq cases would still oppress women and never let them come at par with men.
  • SOCIAL COHESION AND UNITY: India is known for its rich religious and cultural diversity, which can sometimes lead to divisions and difficulties in maintaining social cohesion. One of the contributing factors to these challenges is the existence of distinct personal laws that vary across different communities. These divergent laws can create differences and hinder the development of a unified identity among the citizens. Introducing a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) can address this issue by establishing a standardized set of laws that apply uniformly to all citizens, regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds. The UCC aims to transcend religious boundaries and provide a common legal framework for all individuals. This can foster a sense of unity and inclusivity by promoting equal treatment and opportunities for everyone. By implementing a UCC, there is potential for a shared understanding of legal rights and responsibilities among citizens. It helps to create a common ground for legal discourse and decision-making, enabling individuals from diverse communities to interact on equal footing. This shared perception of legal norms can contribute to the harmonious coexistence of various religious and cultural groups, reducing conflicts arising from disparate personal laws. Ultimately, the implementation of a UCC can contribute to a greater sense of unity and belonging among the populace. It emphasizes the idea that despite diverse backgrounds, everyone is subject to the same laws and entitled to the same legal protections. This fosters a more inclusive society and promotes the values of equality and justice for all citizens.
  • NATIONAL INTEGRATION & SECULARISM: The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) ensures that individuals from all religious backgrounds are treated equally under a unified national civil code. It applies uniformly to everyone and encompasses various aspects such as marriage, divorce, maintenance, inheritance, adoption, and property succession. Given India’s diverse range of religions, customs, and practices, implementing a UCC would facilitate greater integration within the country, surpassing previous levels achieved since independence. By bringing together all Indians, regardless of their caste, religion, or tribe, under a single national civil code of conduct, a UCC promotes unity and commonality among the populace.


India, which is eminent for its endless diversity of cultures and religions, is domestic to numerous distinctive beliefs, each of which has its own set of personal laws that administer things like marriage, divorce, legacy, and adoption. India’s commitment to maintaining and honouring its people’s faith and social traditions is illustrated by the coexistence of these numerous personal laws. There has been numerous debates opposing the UCC one such statement was passed by the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board when it said that “the UCC is antithetical to the fundamental right to practice religion as enshrined in the constitution[7]”. It also said that “the UCC is neither suitable nor useful for a vast multi-religious country like India” in a resolution passed on the second and final day of its 27th public session[8].

Most common debates against UCC are as follows: –

  • PERCEPTION OF UCC AS ENCROACHMENT ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Few individuals believe that the UCC would abuse the right to religious freedom revered within the article 25 of the Indian Constitution. People opposing UCC argues that such unified set of civil laws would breach the right to profess, propagate and practice religion in India.
  • PRACTICAL CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTATION: In regard to implement such a code in it’s true spirit, it is vital to unreservedly borrow from different personal laws, steadily revise each, issue judicial declarations ensuring gender parity, and adopt expansive interpretations of marriage, maintenance, adoption, and succession while taking under consideration the focal points one community gets from the others. It will take a considerable amount of time and resources to complete the task. In accordance to bring in a unified set of civil laws the government must continuously treat both the majority populace and minority populace equally and sensitively. As in any other case, it may lead to devastating communal violence.
  • SOCIAL COHESION VERSUS ASSIMILATION: Some also believe that the need for social cohesiveness and national integration of nations is what motivates the quest for a UCC. However, the critics of UCC object that such integration should not come at the cost of the minority population to lose their own culture and traditions. According to critics, UCC disregards the diversity that strengthens the fundamentals of the Indian society and can result in forced assimilation and cultural uniformity.


  • FRANCE: One of the foremost well-known civil laws within the whole world is the Napoleonic Respectful Code, which administers France. It was first used in 1804, replacing both past laws and standard laws by consolidating more than 300 local civil law codes. The code covered a wide range of subjects, including property, merchandise, intestate succession, contracts, and more. Its objective was to create a completely legitimate system by embracing both conventional traditions and lawful prerequisites to discover a balance between benefit and uniformity. The French Code is seen as a vital turning point within the combination and modernization of civil law.
  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Within the United States, diversity considerations align more closely with Indian circumstances. Different levels of enactment apply autonomously to the country, states, provinces, organizations, and cities. States are distinct legitimate entities with their own Supreme Courts that follow their own practices and lawful conventions. Whereas there are shared principles administering civil laws over the country, they are universally applied. The Federal Supreme Court handles only matters of federal nature or those that impact the whole nation, such as security, taxation, and common lawful issues.


India’s adoption of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is seen as an imperative step toward cultivating secularism and harmony in one’s own private matters. The adoption of a UCC is said to be vital to ensure that everybody, irrespective of their community or religious association, has equal rights and status before the law. A UCC that guarantees gender parity is required since the present personal laws, which are established on religious beliefs, are criticized by their alleged prejudice towards women. It is advised that a thorough analysis of religious and personal laws be conducted, including the most favorable elements from diverse religions and lawful frameworks of different countries. “Uniform Civil Code will help the case of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies”.[10]  

This paper brings consideration to two noteworthy questions that regularly go unnoticed amid talks around the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

The first question pertains to the challenge of accomplishing uniformity in personal laws whereas respecting the one of a kind cultural and social characteristic of each community. It challenges the presumption that practices of a specific community are inherently regressive or unreasonable. Falling flat to address this question truly dangers rehashing the chronicled blunder committed by Americans who ignored indigenous traditions and forced their own norms upon them.

The second question investigates whether uniformity alone can successfully annihilate gender disparities that persist in society. It highlights the significance of recognizing that definitions of disparity can vary across communities. Instead of hastily forcing a universal definition, the research suggests that social orders ought to recognize and address treacheries and disparities inside their own contexts. Ignoring this process can result in defensive reactions and the concealment of internal injustices.

Overall, the research paper underscores the centrality of going up against insufficiencies inside personal law frameworks and adopting dynamic and progressive practices from other communities. It emphasizes the need for a gradual and thoughtful approach rather than surging into uniformity, as hastiness can lead to disappointment instead of the intended outcome.



[1] INDIA CONST. art. 44

[2] INDIA CONST. art. 25

[3] INDIA CONST. art. 26

[4] Insights Editor, Insights into Editorial: Uniform Civil Code debate gains momentum – INSIGHTSIAS, INSIGHTSIAS (Apr. 7, 2022), (last visited July 13, 2023) https://www.insightsonindia.com/2022/04/07/insights-into-editorial-uniform-civil-code-debate-gains-momentum/ .

[5] Savio Rodrigues, Bill on Uniform Civil Code to be July flashpoint, The New Indian Express (May 6, 2022), (last visited July 13, 2023),  https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/apr/20/bill-on-uniform-civil-code-to-be-july-flashpoint-2567557.html .

[6] Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum AIR 1985 SC 945

[7] Uniform Civil Code not suitable for multi-religious country like India: AIMPLB, The Indian Express (Nov. 21, 2021), (last visited July 13, 2023),  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/uniform-civil-code-not-suitable-for-multi-religious-country-like-india-aimplb-7634374/ .

[8] Id

[9] Saman Rizwan, Uniform Civil Code In Foreign Countries: Its Evaluation From The Perspective Of India, Legal Service India, (last visited July 13, 2023), https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-7248-uniform-civil-code-in-foreign-countries-its-evaluation-from-the-perspective-of-india.html .

[10]  8 Hon’ble S. C. of India stressed on UCC in the case of Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum and Ors. AIR 1985; (last visited on 24-03-2021) https://indiankanoon.org/doc/823221/ (last visited on 24-03-2021)

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