Personal law applies to a certain class or group of people or a particular person, based on the similar religions, faith, and culture. In India, everyone belongs to different caste, religion and have their own faith and belief. Marriage, divorce, succession, inheritance, maintenance is all related to Personal laws. There are different personal laws for Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and others. Section 44 of Indian Constitution states uniform civil code for all citizens which will set common personal laws for all citizens. State should consider directive principles of state policy while making laws. The need for uniform civil code was felt after Shah Bano case (1985).
In a country like India, it is impossible to have uniform civil code because of diversity in religion. But due to different personal laws, there is discrimination among the citizens of India. Efforts are being taken for bringing uniformity in personal laws.
Why is common personal law necessary?
- Common personal law can provide equal status all citizens irrespective of their religion, class, caste, creed, sex.
- Common personal law will promote gender parity as most of the personal laws are discriminatory towards women.
- New generation believes in principle of equality, humanity and modernity, so common personal law can accommodate the aspirations of the young population.
- With the implementation of common personal laws, there will be no discrimination or privileges enjoyed by a particular group of people on the basis of their personal laws.
- Old laws are orthodox and mostly patriarchal, common personal laws shall bypass the argumentative issue of reform of existing personal laws.
Why is applicability of common personal law not possible?
- Since India is a diverse country, uniform set of rules for personal issues are not possible.
- Minorities are threatened their rights and traditions will be neglected
- The scope of fundamental right of freedom of religion could be reduced on implementation of common personal laws.
Common personal laws will promote justice, gender equality and national integration which is essential for the development of the nation. The objective of unity and integrity could be achieved only when Article 44 is transformed into enforceable Uniform Civil Code. The benefits of common personal laws are more than its limitations, and thus India should have common personal laws for all its citizens.