Article by Abhigyan, Contributing Writer at The Sahar Magazine


In the diverse tapestry of India’s cultural fabric lies the intricate challenge of establishing a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The concept of UCC has been a subject of intense debate, with proponents advocating for gender equality and a unified legal framework for personal matters. However, the reality is far from simple, as various religious and cultural practices coexist in the country, making the path to implementing a UCC riddled with complexities. In this article, I will explore the nuances of the UCC in India, examining the existing disparities in civil laws and shedding light on potential solutions while navigating the challenges that lie ahead.

Gender Equality and the Existing Disparities

One of the primary arguments in favour of a UCC is to achieve gender equality in personal laws. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that gender disparities persist in current civil laws. For instance, the Hindu Succession Law takes into account the marital status of a man while determining his legal status, whereas a woman’s marital status is not given the same consideration. Similarly, the practice of Parsi women losing their Parsi status upon marrying a non-Parsi man and the Catholic Church’s non-recognition of divorce present significant obstacles to gender equality.

The Challenge of Diverse Customs and Practices

India’s rich cultural tapestry is a double-edged sword when it comes to implementing a UCC. The customs and practices of different religions and sects vary significantly, making it challenging to create a standardized legal framework. For instance, sagotra (same-gotra) marriages are common in certain regions of the south but prohibited in the north. Harmonizing these diverse practices under a single code poses a considerable challenge.

UCC and Tribal Matriarchal Societies

The question of applicability arises when considering tribal communities with matriarchal societies. The UCC must respect and accommodate the unique customs and traditions of these communities without compromising their identity and rights. Excluding tribes from the UCC while protecting their autonomy presents another layer of complexity.

Suggested Solutions by the 21st Law Commission of India

In its pursuit of finding a middle ground, the 21st Law Commission of India has put forth several recommendations to pave the way for a UCC:

– Codifying Customary Laws: To achieve uniformity without eroding cultural diversity, the Commission proposes the codification of customary laws followed by different communities. This approach would create a standardized legal framework while preserving the essence of each community’s practices.

– Gender-Just Family Laws: Addressing gender disparities in existing civil laws is crucial. By making family laws more gender-just, the UCC can uphold the principles of equality and fairness in personal matters.

– Fixing Loopholes: The UCC should aim to identify and address the loopholes in non-religious civil laws, ensuring that they serve the interests of all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation.

– Exclusion of Tribals: Recognizing the unique social structures of tribal communities, the Commission suggests excluding them from the UCC to preserve their distinct identity and autonomy.


The road to implementing a Uniform Civil Code in India is undoubtedly challenging, given the complexities arising from diverse customs, religious practices, and societal norms. Achieving true gender equality while respecting the nation’s cultural diversity demands careful consideration and open dialogue among stakeholders. The 21st Law Commission’s recommendations offer valuable insights into striking a balance between uniformity and cultural pluralism. Only through informed and compassionate discourse can India aspire to create a legal framework that embraces its myriad identities while upholding the ideals of justice and equality for all.

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