Code red – 22nd Law Commission Report on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) | 16th June 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about views of 22nd Law Commission on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India.


  • GS1: Indian Society; GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation;
  • Essay;
  • Prelims


  • The 22nd Law Commission of India has decided again to solicit views and ideas of the public at large and recognized religious organizations about the Uniform Civil Code.
  • This is in view of the fact the consultation paper issued by the previous Law Commission on the subject is more than three years old.
  • In 2018, the Law Commission of India released a Consultation Paper on ‘Reform of Family Law’, in which it opined that “formulation of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”.

What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC):

  • The UCC refers to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession for all citizens, irrespective of religion.
  • The Article 44 of the Constitution makes a reference to a UCC and says, “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”
  • Since it is a part of DPSP, it is not enforceable in the courts.


Old report:

  • The 22nd Commission said that the 21st commission report on UCC has become old and obsolete. Thus it recommended a fresh look at the issue of UCC.
  • The 21st Commission had released a consultation paper in 2018 that categorically said a uniform civil code was “neither necessary nor desirable” at that stage.
  • In a well-reasoned document, it had then argued that the focus of initiatives to reform the various personal laws should be the elimination of all forms of discrimination rather than an attempt to bring about uniformity in the laws governing various religions.
  • The document was progressive in nature, inasmuch as it emphasised non-discrimination over uniformity, and recognised that there could be diverse means of governing aspects of personal law such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption instead of imposing a single set of rules on society.
  • This would entail the removal of discriminatory provisions, especially those that affect women, and adoption of some overarching norms rooted in equality. Nothing significant has happened since to warrant a fresh look, except perhaps a political need for the current dispensation to bring the issue to the electoral arena.

What needed?

  • A uniform civil code for the entire country is indeed a lofty goal.
  • It is possible that a uniform code may be adopted without offending any religion, but the concept evokes fear among sections of the minorities that their religious beliefs, seen as the source of their personal laws, may be undermined.
  • In fraught times such as the present, a common code will inevitably be seen as an imposition by the majority.
  • Basic reforms can be given priority — such as having 18 as the marriageable age for all across communities and genders.
  • Introducing a ‘no-fault’ divorce procedure and allowing dissolution of marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown, and having common norms for post-divorce division of assets were other matters the previous Commission threw up for a debate.
  • Within each community’s laws, it will be desirable to first incorporate universal principles of equality and non-discrimination and eliminate practices based on taboos and stereotypes.

Way Forward:

  • A uniform civil code is obviously the need of the hour. Thus, the debate should not be around whether we need UCC or not, but rather the manner in which it is done.

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