Take steps to get a uniform civil code, High court urges Centre | India News

Take steps to get a uniform civil code, High court urges Centre | India News


NEW DELHI: Backing the need to introduce a uniform civil code, the Delhi high court has said the “hope expressed in Article 44 of the Constitution that the state shall secure for its citizens a uniform civil code ought not to remain a mere hope”.
Justice Pratibha M Singh said a code “common to all” in the country is needed and urged the central government to take necessary steps in this matter. Its observations came while hearing an estranged couple’s plea for divorce where the wife has challenged the application of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA).
Justice Singh said “in modern Indian society, which is gradually becoming homogenous, the traditional barriers of religion, community and caste are slowly dissipating”.
The HC said citizens should not be made to struggle due to conflicts and contradictions in various personal laws on the issues of marriage and divorce, highlighting that “courts have been repeatedly confronted with the conflicts that arise in personal laws”.
“Persons belonging to various communities, castes and religions, who forge marital bonds, struggle with such conflicts,” it said.
The HC noted that the Supreme Court has also repeatedly highlighted the need for such a code, which would enable “uniform principles being applied in respect of aspects such as marriage, divorce, succession, etc., so that settled principles, safeguards and procedures can be laid down”, and referred to the Shah Bano verdict. It said decisions were “rendered way back in 1985 and more than 35 years have passed”.
In the Shah Bano case, the SC had said that a common civil code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws having conflicting ideologies. It had observed that the state was charged with the duty of securing a UCC for citizens.
“It is unclear as to what steps have been taken in this regard till date,” the HC said and directed that its order be communicated to the secretary, ministry of law & justice … for necessary action.
It was dealing with a plea in which the couple belong to the Meena community, which was excluded from the ambit of the HMA. When the husband sought a divorce, the wife claimed that the HMA did not apply as the Meena community was a notified Scheduled Tribe in Rajasthan. But closer scrutiny by the HC revealed that from the start of the litigation, both parties admitted that their marriage was solemnised according to Hindu rites. The HC said although there was no definition of Hindu the SC has held that if members of tribes are Hinduised, the HMA would be applicable to them, and allowed the husband’s appeal.





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