What is the Universal Code of conduct for Women?

 What is the Universal Code Of conduct for Women?

India had adopted, enacted and gave herself the constitution on the 26th November, 1950. This date holds a great importance, not only because of the constitution put into action but because from that day onwards, every citizen could exercise their basic rights. Our constitution has taken references from many developed countries like the USA, UK, Germany, France, Ireland, etc. It is an amalgamation of all the features keeping in mind the population of India back then in 1947.

The makers of the Indian constitution framed laws according to the vulnerability, socio-economic condition of the citizens as everyone faced the blow of separation of two countries. The citizen’ literacy rate at that time was just 18.33%, which means that awareness and practice of fundamental rights was not up to the mark. In 2011, the literacy rate increased to 74.05%, with the surge of internet, NGO’, awareness, and the need to exercise one's fundamental rights saw an upswing.


As India was ruled by the English crown for over two centuries, the need for a single law was required. As India had a mixed population in matters of religion, literacy rate and hierarchy, a uniform law on crime, marriage, etc. was needed for the English to rule. The British government submitted a report in 1835 putting emphasis on codification of uniform law. Due to certain limitations, the government was forced to form a committee to codify Hindu Law in 1941. The BN Rau committee studied the necessity for a unified Hindu law and focused on giving equal rights to women. The 1937 act was reviewed and certain suggestions were given for Hindu marriage and successions.

Hindu code bill which focused on marriage and successions was adopted in 1956 as Hindu succession act, it amended the law among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, giving women greater property rights in their father’ estate. In 2005, even women were given equal shares as sons, raising their position as heirs. The landmark judgment of the supreme court on the Coparcenary law in 2022 has made women legal heirs in father’ property.

Different laws prevailing In India

India has been surrounded by laws broadly of 2 categories; Criminal laws and Civil laws. The criminal laws are uniform without biasness of religion or faith of the citizens whereas the civil laws are highly influenced by the belief of certain religious sects and are a task to make amendments in it.

The civil laws are further bifurcated into personal laws which include Hindu laws and Muslim laws. Hindu laws cover the area of marriage, succession, adoption, donations, etc. The Muslim laws keeping in mind the Quran deal with marriage, wakfs, dowry, divorce, etc. Issues arising from these personal laws are treated according to the constitution.

Working on civil code of conduct

The UCC has its place in the Indian constitution in the Directive Principles of State policy as Article 44. The DPSP are a set of principles which a state should implement to establish a welfare society. The DPSP are broadly classified into 3 types; Gandhian, Socialistic and liberal-intellectual. The Gandhian principles include that a state should develop panchayats, cottage industries, co-operative societies, protecting the weaker section from injustice, etc. These principles mostly cover Gandhi’ ideology of developing society from bottom to top.

The socialistic principles reflect a socialist society where there is no social and economic injustice. These principles focus on having the right to education, livelihood, equal distribution of wealth, equal pay for equal work, etc. The liberal-intellectual principles are based on western ideology, liberalism and it includes protecting the environment, establishing international peace and the most important one is the Uniform Civil Code.

As envisioned by Dr Ambedkar, the Uniform Civil Code aims to protect all the vulnerable sections of the society like women, children and religious minorities. When the law is enacted, it will simplify all the personal laws like Hindu law, Shariat law, etc. The Uniform Civil Code will act like an umbrella which covers marriage, divorce, adoption, etc. for all the religions without discrimination.

Uniform civil code will act as a torch bearer in the society and will help achieve a gender neutral society. In the current scenario, there are different personal laws governing the country. Due to this the women’ situation has become more deteriorating. Anti-women practice like Halala, Polygamy, etc. have been limiting factors for the society’ growth. The landmark judgment of making triple talaq practice null and void by the supreme court in 2017 proved that our constitution and its guardians believe in a secular state. Another judgment which was women centric by the NDA government has been increasing the age of marriage from 18 to 21. This helps a woman complete her education, develop understanding, decide her career, get aware about her rights, etc.

The implementation of Uniform civil code will not only bring gender neutrality but also uplift the social status, health and security of women. Being a DPSP, it cannot be enforced like fundamental rights in the states. It is a matter of consent of the state whether to have a uniform code or not. There have been instances where uniform laws were observed irrespective of the population residing in the state. For e.g., during the 1930’ time the North west frontier province followed the Hindu succession act till it came under the shariat law. The area of kerala, united province (now Uttar Pradesh), central province and Bombay state followed the Hindu succession act even though they had a huge Muslim population.

In a country like India where a diverse population exists, it becomes difficult to make a uniform code work. Hindu laws have been amended and accepted but Muslim laws refrain from accepting changes. There are countries like the USA, Canada, UK who have adopted the Uniform civil code. They understand the need of a society without discrimination. In India, Goa is the only state which has implemented the Uniform civil code as a special marriage act. This act gives provision of marriage between two different genders irrespective of their religion. This is a huge step in curbing honor killing and communal violence.

Our country has made many landmark judgments and set an example for countries on the global front. The LGBTQ verdict of supreme court in 2018 not only recognized the community but also accepted homosexuality. With such a vast constitution and responsible judiciary and legislators, we can pave the way for a uniform code, for the better position of women in society. 


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