Following the comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the elections in Madhya Pradesh, the uniform civil code (UCC) has once again become a subject of intense political controversy. Prime Minister Modi firmly stated that India cannot function under two separate laws, emphasizing that the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code is an essential part of the Indian Constitution.

The Controversy Surrounding UCC

The Prime Minister’s statement sparked a nationwide debate, with several opposition leaders accusing him of exploiting the UCC issue for political gains, particularly as elections approach in various states. Prime Minister Modi has been accused by members of the Congress party of using the UCC as a distraction from more urgent matters like inflation, unemployment, and the situation in Manipur.

UCC perspectives

The leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisi, criticised the Prime Minister’s position on UCC and said that he sees India’s diversity and plurality as issues. Owaisi questioned whether the Prime Minister comprehends Article 29, expressing concerns about stripping the country of its pluralistic and diverse nature in the name of UCC.

Furthermore, approximately 30 tribal organizations fear that the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code will undermine the tribal customary laws. One such organization, Adivasi Jan Parishad, voiced their concerns, stating that they protest against the UCC due to potential negative impacts on tribal lands protected by the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act.

It is important to note that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised to implement UCC if they won the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and it was included in their manifesto.

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Learning about the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

A common law that is applicable to all Indian people, regardless of their religion, caste, creed, sexual orientation, or gender, is called the “Uniform Civil Code,” which is a proposed legal framework in the country.

UCC’s Place in the Indian Constitution

Yes, the Uniform Civil Code finds mention in the Indian Constitution, specifically in Part IV, which highlights the Directive Principles of State Policy. Part IV asserts that the state should strive to establish a uniform civil code throughout India for its citizens. The Constitution’s founders wanted a consistent set of laws that would apply to all religions and would supersede outdated personal laws regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.

The Directive Principles do, however, play a crucial role in directing national governance, even though they are neither legally enforceable or justiciable in a court of law.

Supreme Court’s Perspective on UCC

The Supreme Court has consistently advocated for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in various judgments. For instance, in the landmark Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano Begum case of 1985, the court called for the adoption of the UCC while deciding whether to prioritize the Code of Criminal Procedure or Muslim personal law in the maintenance claim filed by a divorced Muslim woman.

The Court’s endorsement of UCC was reiterated in subsequent cases, including the Sarla Mudgal judgment of 1995 and the Paulo Coutinho vs Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira case in 2019.

The Law Commission’s View on UCC

In response to a request from the Modi government, the Law Commission produced a comprehensive 185-page consultation paper in 2018 on family law reform. The commission concluded that the implementation of the UCC was neither necessary nor desirable at that particular stage. Instead, the report recommended studying and amending discriminatory practices, prejudices, and stereotypes within specific religions and their personal laws.

Uniform Civil Code in Indian States

When discussing the Uniform Civil Code, it is crucial to mention Goa, where the Goa Civil Code has been in force since the Portuguese colonial era and is considered a form of Uniform Civil Code. The Portuguese enacted the Portuguese Civil Code in 1867, which was subsequently extended to their overseas provinces, including Goa, in 1869. However, the practical implementation of the code in Goa is relatively intricate.

Additionally, on May 27 of the previous year, the Uttarakhand government declared its intention to apply the Uniform Civil Code in the state. The state government formed a five-person committee under Desai’s direction to write a plan for the UCC’s adoption. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami stated that the committee is expected to submit its report by June 30th of the current year.

Furthermore, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of Assam emphasized the need for implementing the Uniform Civil Code in the state. He emphasized that introducing this legislation is crucial to ensure justice for all Muslim women.

The Gujarat government has also expressed support for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.


In conclusion, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has remained a contentious topic in India, with proponents arguing for a unified legal framework to supersede personal laws based on religion, customs, and traditions. However, its implementation has faced significant opposition, with concerns raised about the potential dilution of tribal customary laws and threats to India’s diversity and pluralism. The Supreme Court has called for the adoption of UCC in several judgments, while the Law Commission recommended studying and addressing discriminatory practices within personal laws. With different states adopting varying positions on the issue, the debate surrounding UCC continues to shape India’s legal and social landscape.