Author - Associate Kantika Mukherjee
The Indian Constitution keeps evolving with time. The lawmakers had interpreted the constitution it in many ways and when any bill, bye-laws have been passed, and it relies on how one understands the wordings of law. The first Article of the Constitution of India stated that, “India, that is Bharath, shall be a Union of States”.
As per the Indian Constitution, India is a state of the Union, which means that each of the states is an integral part of the nation as well as Union and provincial governments have to work together. Aside from this, Indian federation was described as quasi-federation.
However India has diverse religion, culture as well as heritage with a variety of population lying from poor to rich, lower as well as backward classes to upper classes, unreserved to reserved category etc. The expression Unity in Diversity referred to the state of oneness or togetherness regardless of the presence of immense diversity.
For instance, the reservation of SC/ST/OBCs had always been questioned by the individuals who belong to general category. The main point is that if they were given equal status previously in society, then they shall have not been given reservation as a special status in the society. If not, then they may have never got what they were entitled to. Therefore, in order to protect the interest of the states which was formed earlier and have confronted problems in any way, they have been given special status under the Constitution of India. The main example is Article 370, that is, it gives a special status to Jammu and Kashmir under the temporal authority, which has recently been revoked by the government.
Jammu and Kashmir while having its special status had its own Constitution and few of the Indian laws are also were not applicable to the state. After Article 370 had been revoked, now Jammu and Kashmir is a part of entire India and each and every provision of the Constitution would be applicable concerning the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The special status to a state is given mainly considering the low resource base, hilly and difficult terrain, low population density, a sizable share of the tribal population as well as hostile location. However, the concept of equality was misinterpreted in a huge way. There is a requirement to have a common understanding that if two states cannot stand together at one position where one faces problems when it comes to resources, governance or any additional important factor and for the other state, the tussle continues. When the special power is given to any state, it is for their social as well as economic welfare and to improve them in the area where they are lacking.
For instance, the Constitution had been given Nagaland the notwithstanding power under Article 371A(1)[i] where no act of Parliament shall be applicable in religious or social practices, customs, administrations as well as land and its resources unless the Legislative Assembly agrees by the resolution. The majority of the Nagas are tribes and their customary rules, traditions requirements to be preserved with the intention of not losing its origin. Above 70% of the population is reliant on the natural resources for their existence and if any additional authority other than the state has power towards making laws on it, then individuals who are living there might get affected badly and then Parliament might work in accordance with its own notions and fancies.
But it is not wrong to state that the Parliament should hold supremacy over state assemblies. Whenever there is a clash amid the general law as well as the specific law, the provisions of the special law shall prevail. The purpose of an interpretation of a statute is towards ascertaining the aim of the Legislature enacting it. In order to ascertain the accurate meaning, it is similarly essential to ascertain the connection in which the rule has been placed, the purpose for which it has been passed and the object which it is essential to subserve as well as the authority through which the rule is made.
India is a secular nation which is recognized to inhabit and provide to the interest of variable communities, accounting for a diverse nation. From the time of gaining Independence, philosophers of the nation believed that the Uniform Civil Code is vital in order to fully function as a secular nation. However, after so many years of independence, the nation has not been able to execute the idea.
It would ‘execute’ the true sense of being Secular. Presently with diverse personal laws existing in the nation, being secular is basically a selective way. The uniform civil code will make certain that all the diverse communities of India would follow a single set of laws, which shall unite us as a nation. It shall provide more rights to Women: The ancient religious, as well as personal laws, have made the society to be very patriarchal. The uniform civil code would reject the current archaic laws relating to women’s right especially to Muslim women where divorce laws, as well as marriage-related laws, are men favoured. This would be followed by all the communities to make certain equal as well as the safe right for the females of the nation.
It would integrate and unite India in many ways. Indians will feel united as one irrespective of caste, religion as well as other social evils that seems to distinguish one individual from another. In many ways, the Uniform Civil Code could change the whole social and political arrangement of India. Almost every developed nation has a uniform civil code. It is high time that India too, implements the Uniform Civil Code.
A Bill on the voluntary Uniform Civil Code is prepared to be presented in the session of Parliament, the moment such code is made elective, and it stopped to be uniform. The government will do well to take instant steps to organize each set of personal laws in place of framing such optional civil code.
Personal laws regarding marriage, divorce, minority, guardianship, maintenance as well as succession are covered in this bill. The passing of this bill would repeal the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The proposal regarding the consolidation of the Indian Divorce Act as well as the Indian Christian Marriage Act into one statute on the similarity of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was proposed by the Law Commission and has also optional certain reforms in the law.