“If Unified Civil Code gets implemented, our religion will lose its essence and fundamentals”
If the essence and fundamentals of your religion are built on discrimination based on gender, then it needs to be gone.
We have a Criminal Code that ensures equal punishment for anyone who defies criminal laws, irrespective of their gender or religion. But when it comes to personal matters, we have laws that are dependent on factors like religion, place, and culture.
A Uniform Civil Code refers to a single law, applicable to all citizens of India in matters of marriage, divorce, custody, adoption, and inheritance.
According to Islamic personal laws, a female can only inherit half of her father’s properties as compared to her male sibling.
Even if she is a single child, she has rights over only half the property and the rest can be claimed by the father’s close relatives.
During a hearing, a woman’s testimony is worth only half of that of a man and is only taken into consideration only if no man is available as a witness.
In the case of Hindus, the property of a woman who dies without a will is handled differently from that of a man.
In the absence of a spouse and children, the husband’s heirs inherit the woman’s estate. So even if a woman was ill-treated by her marital family, her in-laws will get her property instead of her own parents.
Parsis still penalize those who marry outside their community – and it is allowed.
A non-Parsi woman who is either a wife or widow of a Parsi cannot inherit.
Their children still can, although those born to a Parsi woman married to a non-Parsi husband are not considered part of the community.
Rural Villages in India
It might come as a shock but in some villages in India, couples are imposed a fine for love marriage.
The most recent incident resulted in the death of a man in Tamil Nadu. He was fined ₹1,500 and was beaten to death for not paying. Read more about the incident, here.
Similarly, different rural villages have their own sets of barbaric laws.
Protecting Regional Identities
To protect distinct regional identities, the Constitution of India makes certain exceptions for the states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, and Goa with respect to family laws.
Goa, at present, is the only state in India with a Unified Civil Code.
But even in Goa, Hindu men have the right to bigamy if the wife fails to deliver a child by the age of 25, or a male child by the age of 30.
Implementing the Unified Civil Code
It may seem that in India, with all its diversity, it would be impossible to implement the Unified Civil Code. But a few centuries back we did not have a unified criminal code. The punishments for the same crime varied according to your caste. And under no circumstances would a brahmin be subjected to Capital punishment.
We’ve come a long way from that but we still have miles to go.
Implementing the Unified Civil Code may indeed be difficult, but not impossible.
You can argue that Articles 25 to 28 in the Constitution of India provide the right to freedom of religion.
But Article 14 ensures that each citizen has the right to equality before the law.
You are welcome to follow any of your religious beliefs as long as they do not discriminate against anyone else.
If half of your population is suffering from your religious customs and you are still fighting for the right to practice your religion, aren’t you saying your religion is sexist and you are proud of it?
Tell me what do you think about implementing the Unified Civil Code in India, in the comments below!