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Uniform Civil Code vs Women

The debate on Uniform Civil Code rages on in the country. Article 44 of the Indian Constitution says, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Unfortunately, this Article was inserted in non-binding and non-justifiable Directive Principles of State Policy. In a fair and ideal world, the rights granted to citizens/people should be human rights – which would be unrestricted from shackles of sex, religion, caste, class, race etc. The mindset that personal laws are part of religion was fostered by British and British courts. We need to outgrow it.

The Muslim community has taken the idea of Uniform Civil Code as a direct attack on their personal laws. A recent press release statement signed by 103 “Muslim and people of Muslim descent” says that while they condemn the practice of arbitrary triple talaq and supports the demand of Muslim women for its abolishment; it continues to hold that Uniform Civil Code is a figment of Hindu and right wing politics use as a Hindu vs Muslim tool. The fact of the matter, they say, is that most of the personal laws belonging to any religion are archaic and anti-women.  India should abstain from trying to bringing in an uniform civil code until it has resolved all its problems related to women in India across the religions, caste and class. This argument is disappointing given that even fundamentalist Pakistan has abolished triple talaq.

The implementation of Uniform Civil Code will not result in zero dowry deaths or zero practice of quadrigamy in Muslims and bigamy in Hindus or solve all violence against women 100%. The condition of solving all women problems before implementing Uniform Civil Code goes against the interests of women.

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