After extensive consultation across IAC and all IAC affiliated groups, we have submitted a response to the Law Commission's questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code.
Before the Law Commission of India
Reply filed on behalf of INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION, jan andolan
1. Are you aware that Article 44 of the Constitution of India provides that "the State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India"?
Yes, it first requires a judicial pronouncement from the Supreme Court. The clear meaning of this clause (qv. "endeavour") is that this principle is an unattainable goal and hence directionary, and thereby unenforceable, in nature. This principle first requires that States like J&K be incorporated within the territory of India. For instance, there is already a common civil code in the State of Goa based on Portugese law. It is also not clear if the Hon'ble Commission is suggesting that this Civil Code for Goa be extended throughout the territory of India or if the Civil Code of Goa shall be scrapped ? It is also not clear how any Uniform Civil Code will be applied to certain states of India (eg. J&K, the North-East etc.) without a referendum on the issue and if the Hon'ble Commission proposes that the Uniform Code can be applied in a piecemeal fashion.
2. The various religious denominations are governed by personal laws and customary practices in India on matters of family law, should the UCC include all or some of these subjects?
a. Yes, it should include all these
b. No, it should exclude
c. It should further include
YES. It should include all of these as well as including regulations for the religious practices, practitioners and places of worship of all the subject religious denominations, which are now mostly depraved and corrupt in their practices.
3. Do you agree that the existing personal laws and customary practices need codification and would benefit the people?
c. Personal laws and customary practices should be replaced by a uniform code
d. Personal laws and customary practices should be codified to bring them in line with fundamental rights.
NO. We believe that religion is a sacrament and article of faith between an individual and God and the State should not interfere in an individual's personal beliefs and practices. Therefore we call for scrapping / repeal of all personal laws especially those of the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi personal law. We further submit that classification of citizens by their religious denominations is a divisive measure imposed by fascist totalitarian States so as to prevent national integration through inter-marriages and the like. We call for abolition of all personal laws before even any discussion on UCC is done.
4. Will uniform civil code or codification of personal law and customary practices ensure gender equality?
NO. The experience has been that such well-intentioned but highly impractical laws such as the Domestic Violence Act, Section 498-A IPC which have been imposed at the instance of heavily Western imperialist financed feminist NGOs are completely impractical, draconian and are the root cause of police and judicial corruption and further cause women to be harassed. The India Against Corruption also disputes the need for gender equality when the very biological order of nature requires that the female sex are the birth-givers who are to stay at home and maintain the domestic situation. The efforts of the judiciary to bring in so-called gender equality goes against the order of nature and God's law, so India Against Corruption opposes UCC if its stated purpose is to ensure gender equality.
5. Should the uniform civil code be optional?
YES. The State cannot, and must not, interfere with the religious practices of its people.
6. Should the following practices be banned and regulated?
a. Polygamy (Banned/ Regulated)
b. Polyandry (Banned/ Regulated)
c. Similar customary practices such as Maitri-karaar (friendship deed) et al. (Banned/ Regulated)
6a: NO, this is a socio-religious practice and out of scope of UCC legislation
6b. NO, this is a socio-religious practice and out of scope of UCC legislation
6c. YES, Maitri Karar (and its variants) must be banned because it is a civil contract and hence amenable to UCC legislation.
7. Should the practice of triple talaq be
a. Abolished in toto.
b. Retained the custom
c. Retained with suitable amendments
We say Triple Talaq must be RETAINED and its benefits EXTENDED to all COMMUNITIES:
Triple Talaq is an Islamic religious practice. It is highly beneficial and practical for all parties concerned. The alternative to 'Triple Talaq' are protracted, expensive and traumatic judicial proceedings where the only beneficiaries are the lawyers and judges. There is already a universal secular marriage law and divorce law in India (Special Marriage Act) for those who opt for it, and there is no bar for Muslims to marry and divorce under this act. Solemnisation / Registration of marriages under Special Marriage Act rules out Triple Talaq divorces.
8. Do you think that steps should be taken to ensure that Hindu women are better able to exercise their right to property, which is often bequeathed to sons under customary practices?
a. Yes, Hindu women must be made aware of this right and measures should be taken to ensure that women, under pressure from family do not forego their property.
b. No there are adequate protections in the existing law.
c. Legal provisions will not help in what is primarily a cultural practice, steps have to be taken so sensitise the society instead.
YES. We suggest that the entire gender insensitive and biased Hindu Code of 1955-56 era should be scrapped in its entirety along with all other such personal laws.
9. Do you agree that the two-year period of wait for finalising divorce violates Christian women's right to equality?
a. Yes, it should be made uniform across all marriages
b. No. This period is sufficient and in-keeping with religious sentiments.
YES: It is a very sound principle, gender friendly, and should be made uniform across all marriages. Furthermore, India Against Corruption reminds the Commission that many religions believe that marriage being a sacrament does not permit any divorce.
10. Do you agree that there should be a uniform age of consent for marriage across all personal laws and customary practices?
b. No, customary laws locate this age at the attainment of puberty.
c. The prevailing system of recognising 'voidable' marriages is sufficient.
YES : Furthermore, we say that the minimum statutory age for marriage in all communities should be kept at 25 years for males and 21 years for women, and there must be compulsory registration of marriages to be done within 30 days after giving at least 1 month notice of intended marriage for objections to be raised.
11. Do you agree that all the religious denominations should have the common grounds for divorce?
b. No, cultural difference must be preserved.
c. No, but there should be the same grounds for divorce available for men and women within personal law.
C, but there should be the same grounds for divorce available for men and women in law, except when it leads to some anomaly. Furthermore, India Against Corruption reiterates that all personal laws be scrapped.
12. Would uniform civil code aid in addressing the problem of denial of maintenance or insufficient maintenance to women upon divorce?
NO: This aspect should be addressed under the Criminal Code and maintenance should be provided by the socialist State directly under section 125 CrPC or otherwise.
13. How can compulsory registration of marriages be implemented better?
There is no enforceable law of India requiring compulsory registration of marriages with sufficiently deterrent penalties. To implement compulsory registration of Hindu marriages, the entire Hindu Code of 1955-56 era should be scrapped / repealed as these are biased and gender unfriendly. The Special Marriages Act can be made universally applicable after suitable amendment and renamed as National Compulsory Registration Act, or suchlike. Furthermore the purpose of retaining certain highly obnoxious marriage laws like Arya Marriage Validation Act 1939 is not clear, considering that it is being tremendously misused by unscrupulous legal practitioners to conduct so-called "court marriages" and fraudulent inter-religious marriages and run-away marriages etc. It seems the only purpose of retaining such laws is for 'ghar vapasi' and 'love jihaad', ie fraudulent conversions to Hinduism through marriage.
14. What measures should we take to protect couples who enter into inter-religion and inter-caste marriages?
Statutory mandate as follows:-
A) that all such marriages be registered under Special Marriages Act
B) that registrants under Special Marriages Act be given all the benefits in law available to Scheduled Castes.
15. Would uniform civil code infringe an individual's right to freedom of religion?
1) Many religions permit polygamy, polyandry etc which are social-cultural devices devised to propagate their religions through "breeding".
2) The Hindu religion permits upto 4 wives per male. This should be retained in law.
3) The Hindu religion permits unlimited Kulin marriages per Kulin male. This highly beneficial should be urgently restored in law
4) Since the details of any proposed UCC are not circulated, it is unfair and unreasonable to solicit queries on this issue without complete transparency.
5) It seems the Law Commission is behaving in a highly biased manner by circulating such poorly designed, opaque and skewed questionnaires, and that too only among the educated elite.
16. What measures should be taken to sensitize the society towards a common code or codification of personal law?
There are a whole slew of measures we could suggest, if we were convinced that the Law Commission is serious and honest. But first, the Law Commission may clarify if it proposes to achieve a common civil code or whether it merely proposes to codify personal laws. To this end, we strongly propose and suggest that all personal laws, and especially the entire Hindu Code of 1955-56 era be scrapped / repealed.
INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION also requests opportunity of personal hearing before Hon'ble Commission on this issue.
Please provide us with your name, contact number and address.
NAME: SARBAJIT ROY on behalf of INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION
CONTACT NUMBER : +91-8010205897
ADDRESS : INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION, 2nd floor, B-59 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024.
WEBSITE : http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org.in