With Home Minister Amit Shah asserting last week that the Central Government would move ahead in bringing about a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, besides some developments already going on in a couple of States in this direction it seems that that Article 44 of the Constitution will very soon be implemented in true letter and spirit across the nation. The Union Govt’s determination and sincerity can well be gauged from the fact that it would be open to discussions and debates with stakeholders on this issue as asserted by the Home Minister. It needs to be acknowledged by one and all that over the years, per- sonal laws have become hitched to the issue of reli- gious freedom, making any conversation on UCC con- tentious. What India needs today is open discussion on the issue. However the deliberations and discussions must be rooted in facts, evidence and law. This assumes much significance in view of the fact that Uttarakhand CM PS Dhami has asserted that his gov- ernment will implement the Uniform Civil Code in the next six months for which the consultations with all stakeholders are being held before finalising the code.
If all goes well Uttarakhand will be the second state after Goa to implement the Uniform Civil Code. In view of the ongoing developments it would not be wrong to state that equity and justice demands anyone living in any part of this nation irrespective of caste, colour and religion must be governed by one law instead the mul- tiple personal laws in force at present. Despite all sorts of hurdles during the past over seventy years there have been consistent efforts in the direction of achiev- ing a Uniform Civil Code for the people of India as enshrined in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution and, a stage has finally reached whereby the urgency to have a Uniform Civil Code has been felt by the people at large across the nation. The Indian Judiciary has already been doing a commendable job by upholding the significance of Uniform Civil Code in the society besides pronouncing landmark judgements in this regard right from the famous Shah Bano case followed by innumerable cases brought before it at individual levels by the affected persons especially the women and children who stand worst affected in absence of a Uniform Civil Code. In one of the cases the Apex Court had even directed the Union of India to implement the Code but due to social and political constraints the order of the Supreme could not be implemented.
Thereafter the Apex court had in another judgement itself stated that implementation of Uniform Civil Code could not be made in one go as it carried the risk of dis- integration of the nation while the basic spirit behind Article 44 is national integration. The recent develop- ments are really welcome initiatives as the process that started in 1956 and remained incomplete due to non- applicability of forward-looking laws to family matters seems to have finally entered the significant stage of delivery and could now become a reality in a short span of time.