Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Delhi HC bats for Uniform Civil Code

New Delhi: Indian youth need not be forced to struggle with issues arising out of conflicts in various personal laws in relation to marriage and divorce, the Delhi High Court had commented on Friday favouring the introduction of a Uniform Civil Code. “The modern Indian society is gradually becoming homogeneous, the traditional barriers of religion, community and caste are slowly dissipating,” the court observed. Uniform Civil Code ought not to remain a mere hope, commented Justice Pratibha Singh in an order on 7 July 2021.

“The youth of India belonging to various communities, tribes, castes or religions who solemnize their marriages ought not to be forced to struggle with issues arising due to conflicts in various personal laws, especially in relation to marriage and divorce,” the court said. In the historical Shah Bano case, the HC said, “The hope expressed in Article 44 of the Constitution that the State shall secure for its citizens Uniform Civil Code ought not to remain a mere hope.” In the Shah Bano case, the Supreme Court said that a common civil code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws having conflicting ideologies. It had also observed that the State was charged with the duty of securing Uniform Civil Code for the citizens of the country.  

The Supreme Court had reiterated the need for a Uniform Civil Code from time to time. The HC commented that it is not clear what kind of steps the governments have taken so far in this direction. A copy of the order was directed to be sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India, for necessary action as deemed appropriate.

The case that was being heard by Delhi High Court was regarding the viability of the marriage between the parties who belonged to the Meena community. The question was if this community was excluded from the ambit of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.  Meena community was notified as Scheduled Tribe in Rajastan. When the husband sought divorce, the wife contended that Hindu Marriage Act did not apply to the Meena community.

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