THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 4 September 2018 (Beyond uniformity: on ruling out a uniform civil code )

Beyond uniformity: on ruling out a uniform civil code 

Mains Paper: 2 | Judiciary 
Prelims level: uniform civil code 
Mains level: The Law Commission’s advice to end discrimination in personal laws is persuasive. 


  • The Law Commission’s consultation paper on reform of family laws is a progressive document that avoids the advocacy of a uniform civil code merely for the sake of uniformity.
  • It would facilitate movement towards establishing a body of civil law that promotes equality within the law governing each community. 
  • It advocates the removal of discriminatory provisions in the law relating to aspects such as marriage, divorce, succession and adoption in all religions.
  • And also the adoption of certain universal principles that would address gender bias and other forms of existing discrimination.
  • A simple way of moving towards a common marriage law is to make 18 the marriageable age for all communities and genders.
  • When the age of majority and the age of voting, among other indicators of adulthood, stand at 18, there is no reason for differential treatment on this score. 
  • The Commission rightly points out that the present age of 21 for men merely affirms the stereotype that the wife should be younger. 
  • The panel suggests abolition of the 30-day notice period for civil marriages to prevent its misuse by those against inter-caste and inter-religious marriages.
  • It also suggests division of property equally after divorce, and removal of illnesses that can be cured or controlled from possible grounds of divorce.

Law commission changes and recommendation

  • The thrust of the Law Commission’s report is founded on the idea that “the mere existence of difference does not imply discrimination, but is indicative of a robust democracy.” 
  • The changes have been mooted to give equal treatment to children and parents of any gender in guardianship and adoption matters. 
  • The juvenile law principle that the child’s best interest is the ‘paramount consideration’ has also been put forward for universal application. 
  • The Law Commission has framed the issue in the most reasonable way possible when it says it has “dealt with laws that are discriminatory rather than providing a uniform civil code which is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage.” 
  • The Directive Principles of State Policy that favour a uniform civil code; also, some court judgments have questioned why such a code was not yet in place. 

Way forward  

  • However, in a world that increasingly heeds cultural diversity, it is unnecessary that every aspect of personal law should be dealt with in exactly the same manner. 
  • A just code is one in which universal principles of equality, non-discrimination and avoidance of taboos and social assumptions are applicable in equal measure within every community’s set of laws.

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Which of the following article of the constitution directed to establish Uniform Civil Code?
A.    Article 44
B.    Article 39
C.    Article 40
D.    Article 45

Answer: A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1. Explain the pros and cons of Uniform Civil Code.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials