After delivering on two of the core pledges — abrogation of Article 370 and settlement of the Ram Mandir issue — the clangour is now growing for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s third promise, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The recent remarks by Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the party’s core committee meeting in Bhopal have stirred national politics and reignited the debate on the UCC.
The BJP, quite indefatigably and invariably so, has always been a steadfast advocate of the UCC. In fact, the issue was included in the saffron party’s election manifesto in 2019, and it may be a key election theme in 2024 as well. The vitriolic altercation on hijab has further emphasised the need for a Uniform Civil Code in India. Rakesh Sinha, a BJP member in the Rajya Sabha, tabled a private member’s Bill for legislation on the UCC, further fanning the issue. The Delhi High Court is also hearing a similar case filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyaya. And now, in BJP-ruled states, the demand for the UCC is gaining traction. While Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are working on a draft for the UCC, states like Madhya Pradesh have shown support for the common policy.
The Uniform Civil Code (under Article 44 of the Constitution) aims to establish laws that apply to all people equally, regardless of religion, gender, caste, or other factors. A common collection of rules covering personal concerns such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, succession, co-parenting, the division of family property, guardianship, wills, gifts, charity contributions, and other issues is referred to as the Uniform Civil Code.
“The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India,” declares Article 44. However, since the Article happens to fall under the Directive Principles of State Policy, it is presumed to be advisory in nature.