Uniform Civil Code
Speaker: Shri J Nandakumar
Venue: New Seminar Hall, GIPE
Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics organised a special seminar as a part of its Seminar Series on September 13th, 2023. The speaker Mr J Nandakumar, National Convenor of Prajna Pravah was the special guest for the session. The seminar was chaired by Dr Ajit Ranade, Vice Chancellor of Gokhale Institute.
In his opening remarks, Vice Chancellor Dr Ajit Ranade brought into fore the historicity of the topic at hand – the Uniform Civil Code. While addressing the issue of Uniform Civil Code, he said although the topic was sensitive it should not, however, prove to be an impediment for a free and open discussion.
Mr J Nandakumar, in his introductory address, opined that India, that is Bharat, needs a Uniform Civil Code because of its intrinsic nature. He quoted a Sanskrit Shloka which said, “Let all noble thoughts come from all across the world.” This was, in his opinion, a testament to the notion that Ancient India was accepting and open to all beliefs and ideas. He went on to quote from the Yama – Yami Samvada (Yama – Yami Dialogue) from the Rigveda which vindicated the belief that codification of marriage laws has been done for aeons.
While citing Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy, which envisaged a Civil Code that was uniform throughout India, he said that India, under British Rule, had until 1937 a Common Law in practice. It was, however, of no use when the Sharia Act was implemented. Keeping this in mind, the makers of the Indian Constitution necessitated a provision of the Uniform Civil Code. After Independence, various instances arose when the need of Uniform Civil Code was felt. The most prominent example, he said, was of the 1984 Shah Bano Case. He further quoted various judgments of multiple Indian Courts, wherein, the Judiciary urged the Union Government to pursue the endeavour of UCC. In his concluding remarks, Mr J Nandakumar said that UCC is imperative for national integration, social harmony, women’s rights and gender equality.