10 Supreme Court Judgments On Uniform Civil Code

1. Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira (2019) 20 SCC 85 

It is interesting to note that whereas the founders of the Constitution in Article 44 in Part IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy had hoped and expected that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territories of India, till date no action has been taken in this regard. Though Hindu laws were codified in the year 1956, there has been no attempt to frame a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all citizens of the country despite exhortations of this Court

2. ABC vs. State (NCT of Delhi) (2015) 10 SCC 1

Christian unwed mothers in India are disadvantaged when compared to their Hindu counterparts, who are the natural guardians of their illegitimate children by virtue of their maternity alone, without the requirement of any notice to the putative fathers. It would be apposite for us to underscore that our Directive Principles envision the existence of a uniform civil code, but this remains an unaddressed constitutional expectation

3. Shabnam Hashmi vs. Union of India  (2014) 4 SCC 1 

Conflicting view points prevailing between different communities, as on date, on the subject makes the vision contemplated by Article 44 of the Constitution i.e. a Uniform Civil Code a goal yet to be fully reached and the Court is reminded of the anxiety expressed by it earlier with regard to the necessity to maintain restraint. All these impel us to take the view that the present is not an appropriate time and stage where the right to adopt and the right to be adopted can be raised to the status of a fundamental right and/or to understand such a right to be encompassed by Article 21 of the Constitution.

4. Lily Thomas vs Union Of India AIR 2000 SC 1650 

Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Jamiat-Ulema Hind and learned, counsel appearing on behalf of Muslim Personal Law Board have rightly argued that this Court has no power to give directions for the enforcement of the Directive Principles of the State Policy as detailed in Chapter IV of the Constitution which includes Article 44. This Court has time and again reiterated the position that Directives, as detailed in Part IV of the Constitution are not enforceable in Courts as they do not create any justiciable rights in favour of any person. Reference in this behalf can be made to the judgment of this Court in P.M. Ashwathanarayana Setty and Ors. v. State of Karnataka and Ors. , His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru v. State of Kerala and Anr. . In this case also no directions appeared to have been issued by this Court for the purpose of having uniform Civil Code within the meaning of Article 44 of the Constitution. Kuldeep Singh, J. in his judgment only requested the Government to have a fresh look at Article 44 of the Constitution in the light of words used in that Article . In that context the direction was issued to the Government for filing an affidavit to indicate the steps taken and efforts made in that behalf. Sahai, J. in his concurrent but separate judgment only suggested the ways and means, if deemed proper, for implementation of the aforesaid Directives. The judges comprising the Bench were not the only judges to express their anguish. Such an observation had earlier also been made in Shah Bano ‘s case (supra) and Ms. Jorden Diengdeh v. S.S. Chopra . The apprehension expressed on behalf of Jamiat-Ulema Hind and Muslim Personal Law Board is unfounded but in order to ally all apprehensions we deem it proper to reiterate that this Court had not issued any directions for the codification of the common Civil Code and the judges constituting the different Benches had only expressed their views in the facts and circumstances of those cases.. Learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the respondents has submitted that the Government of India did not intend to take any action in this regard on the basis of the judgment alone.. In the circumstances the review petition as also the writ petitions having no s

5. Sarla Mudgal vs Union Of India 1995 AIR 1531

The Legislation – not religion – being the authority under which personal law was permitted to operate and is continuing to operate, the same can be superseded/supplemented by introducing a uniform civil code. In this view of the matter no community can oppose the introduction of uniform civil code for all the citizens in the territory of India.

The Successive Governments till-date have been wholly re-miss in their duty of implementing the constitutional mandate under Article 44 of the Constitution of India.

We, therefore, request the Government of India through the Prime Minister of the country to have a fresh look at Article 44 of the Constitution of India and “endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throught the territory of India”.

We further direct the Government of India through Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice to file an affidavit of a responsible officer in this Court in August, 1996 indicating therein the steps taken and efforts made, by the Government of India, towards securing a “uniform civil code” for the citizens of India. Sahai, J. in his short and crisp supporting opinion has suggested some of the measures which can be undertaken by the Government in this respect.

The desirability of uniform Code can hardly be doubted. But it can concretize only when social climate is properly built up by elite of the society, statesmen amongst leaders who instead of gaining personal mileage rise above and awaken the masses to accept the change.

6. Pannalal Bansilal and others vs. State of A.P.   (1990 (2) SCC 498)

“The first question is whether it is necessary that the legislature should made law uniformly applicable to all religious or charitable or public institutions and endowments established or maintained by people professing all religions. In a pluralist society like India in which people have faith in their respective religions, beliefs or tenets propounded by different religious or their offshoots, the founding fathers, while making the Constitution, were confronted with problems to unify and integrate people of India professing different religious faiths, born in different casts, sex or sub-sections in the society speaking different languages and dialects in different regions and provided a secular Constitution to integrate all sections of the society as a united Bharat. The directive principles of the Constitution themselves visualise diversity and attempted to foster uniformity among people of different faiths. A uniform law, though is highly desirable, enactment thereof in one go perhaps may be counter-productive to unity and integrity of the nation. In a democracy governed by rule of law, gradual progressive change and order should be brought about. Making law or amendment to a law is a slow process and the legislature attempts to remedy where the need is felt must acute. It would, therefore, be inexpedient and incorrect to think that all laws have to be made uniformly applicable to all people in one go. The mischief or defect which is most acute can be remedied by process of law at stages.”

7. Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum AIR 1985 SC 945

“It is also a matter of regret that Article 44 of our Constitution has remained a dead letter. It provides that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. There is no evidence of any official activity for framing a common civil code for the country. A belief seems to have gained ground that it is for the Muslim community to take a lead in the matter of reforms of their personal law. A common Civil Code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies. No community is likely to bell the cat by making gratuitous concessions on this issue. It is the State which is charged with the duty of securing a uniform civil code for the citizens of the country and, unquestionably; it has the legislative competence to do so. A counsel in the case whispered, somewhat audibly, that legislative competence is one thing, the political courage to use that competence is quite another. We understand the difficulties involved in bringing persons of different faiths and persuasions on a common platform. But, a beginning has to be made is the Constitution is to have any meaning. Inevitably, the role of the reformer has to be assumed by the courts because, it is beyond the endurance of sensitive minds to allow injustice to be suffered when it is so palpable. But piecemeal attempts of courts to bridge that gap between personal laws cannot take the place of a common Civil Code. Justice to all is a far more satisfactory way of dispensing justice than justice from case to case.”

8. Ms. Jordan Diengdeh vs. S.S. Chopra AIR 1985 SC 935

“It was just the other day that a Constitution Bench of this Court had to emphasise the urgency of infusing life into Art. 44 of the Constitution which provides that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” The present case is yet another which focuses .. on the immediate and compulsive need for a uniform civil code. The totally unsatisfactory state of affairs consequent on the lack of a uniform civil code is exposed by the facts of the present case.

9. National Textile Workers vs P.R. Ramkrishnan 1983 AIR 75,

Would this Court enforce a uniform civil code in respect of all citizens, without the aid of an appropriate legislation even though the concept of equality is enshrined in the Constitution and Article 44 specifically requires the State to endeavour to secure for all citizens a uniform civil code ? It may not do so The only solution for many of these social problems is to appeal to the appropriate organs of the State to do their assigned job in the best interests of the Community. It is wrong to think that by some strained construction of law, the Court can find solution to all problems.

10. Kesavananda Bharati … vs State Of Kerala AIR 1973 SC 1461

Article 44 enjoins that the “State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” Desirable as it is, the Government has not been able to take any effective steps towards the realisation of this goal. Obviously no Court can compel the Government to lay down a uniform civil code even though it is essentially desirable in the interest of the integrity, and unity of the country. (Justice SM Sikri)

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