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Uniform Civil Code and Fundamental Duties

Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

Article 44 of the Indian Constitution explicitly articulates the State’s commitment to working towards the establishment of a uniform civil code for all citizens across the nation. This provision operates as a directive principle, distinguishing it from a fundamental right. Notably, the use of the term “endeavour” within the article conveys an aspirational nature rather than imposing an obligatory mandate on the State.

The directive underscores the importance of striving for a uniform civil code, emphasizing uniformity in personal laws, yet it refrains from specifying the precise content or nature of such a code. Consequently, Article 44 outlines a guiding principle for the State to pursue the goal of a uniform civil code while allowing flexibility in its interpretation and implementation.

What is a UCC?

A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) refers to a standardized set of personal laws that would apply uniformly to all Indian citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs or faith. These laws would govern various aspects such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption, ensuring a consistent legal framework across the nation.

The proposal for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India entails the replacement of the current system of diverse personal laws based on religion and community with a unified set of laws applicable to all citizens regardless of their religious affiliations. However, the specific content and scope of such a code remain undefined and subject to ongoing debate and interpretation.

During the deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, Article 44, which pertains to the UCC, was the subject of extensive discussion. Proponents of the UCC argued that it would foster national unity and promote gender equality by ensuring uniform legal standards across religious communities. Conversely, some members voiced concerns regarding the potential infringement upon cultural and religious rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Ultimately, Article 44 was included in the Directive Principles of State Policy as a compromise, acknowledging the aspiration for a common civil code while also respecting the diversity of cultural and religious practices in India.

Exception: Case of Goa

Goa is the only state in India that has a unified personal law applicable to all its citizens, regardless of religion. This code, known as the Goa Civil Code, 1961,or the Goa Family Law, was inherited from Portuguese colonial rule and was not challenged after Goa joined India.

Fundamental Duties

The Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens are enshrined in Part IV-A of the Indian Constitution, added through the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976. These duties serve as a moral and civic obligation for citizens to uphold the unity, integrity, and sovereignty of the nation. There are eleven Fundamental Duties listed under Article 51A, which are:

(a) To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions: Citizens are obligated to uphold the Constitution and its principles, including democracy, equality, and secularism.

(b) To cherish and follow the noble ideals that inspired India’s freedom struggle: This duty emphasizes the importance of honouring the sacrifices made by freedom fighters and working towards the ideals of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

(c) To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India: Citizens are required to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and contribute towards maintaining national unity.

(d) To defend the country and render national service when called upon: It is the duty of citizens to defend the country when required, whether through military service or other forms of national service.

(e) To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities: This duty emphasizes fostering unity and brotherhood among all citizens, regardless of differences in religion, language, or region.

(f) To value and preserve the rich heritage of India’s composite culture: Citizens are encouraged to respect and preserve India’s diverse cultural heritage, promoting tolerance and understanding among different communities.

(g) To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures: This duty underscores the importance of environmental conservation and treating all living beings with compassion.

(h) To develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform: This duty encourages citizens to be critical thinkers and to question the world around them. It is important for citizens to be able to think rationally and to make informed decisions.

(i) To safeguard public property and to abjure violence: It is the duty of citizens to protect public property and renounce violence in all its forms, contributing to the maintenance of law and order and to work together to create a safe and peaceful society.

(j) To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity: This duty encourages citizens to pursue excellence in their personal and collective endeavours, contributing to the progress and development of the nation

(k) To provide opportunities for education to their children between the ages of six and fourteen years: Parents or guardians are mandated to ensure that children between the ages of six and fourteen years receive compulsory education, as per the Right to Education Act.

These Fundamental Duties serve as a moral compass for citizens, reminding them of their responsibilities towards the nation and society, complementing the rights granted by the Constitution.


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