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Suprem Court Comment on UCC

The first time that the courts spoke of a UCC was when the Supreme Court in Mohd Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum and Others (1985: para 32) exhorted the central government to enact a “common civil code” in the interests of national integration.

The Court reiterated the same issue a few weeks later in a slightly different context, that of a marriage between a Christian woman and a Sikh man under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 in Jordan Diengdeh v. S S Chopra (1985). In the case of Jordan Diengdh v. Chopra the SC observed as follows:

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 “Time  has now come for  the  intervention  of the legislature to provide for  a uniform code of marriage and divorce as envisaged by Article 44.”

The Court urged the government to come up with a UCC once again a decade later in a public interest litigation seeking to outlaw the practice of Hindu men abandoning their wives, without lawfully divorcing them, and converting to Islam for the sole purpose of marrying a second time (Sarla Mudgal, President, Kalyani and Others v. Union of India and Others 1995) This time, the justification offered was to prevent Hindu men from converting to Islam for the sole purpose of getting married a second time.

The Supreme Court once again affirmed the necessity and desirability of one in John Vallamattom and Another v. Union of India (2003), this time in the context of succession.

The Supreme Court has once again lamented the absence of a UCC in the context of the guardianship of a Christian child, without going into why a simple change in the Guardians and Wards Act would not suffice (ABC v. The State (NCT of Delhi) 2015)

Finally In 2019, the Supreme Court  The bench , also comprising of Justice Aniruddha Bose made these observations in Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira again expressed its disappointment over lack of UCC, saying: “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.”

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