ARTICLE 44

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Article 44 of the Indian Constitution contains a fundamental vision of a cohesive and peaceful country that works to advance a uniform civil code for all of its residents. This article highlights India’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of its varied people and fostering a feeling of national unity. It is under the Directive Principle of State Policy. Article 44 reflects the founders’ vision to create a consistent code, guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities for everyone while honoring the nation’s cultural and social variety .

What does Article 44 states ?

 Uniform civil code for the citizens

  • The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
What is Uniform Civil Code ?
  • Uniform Civil Code (UCC) are the unified civil rules that apply to all people of a nation, regardless of their religion or community.
  • In India, numerous religious communities, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and others, have their own unique and independent systems of personal laws, which the UCC seeks to replace.
  • Personal laws in India regulate a variety of issues, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, and maintenance. . Hindu personal law, for example , is distinct from Muslim personal law, which in turn is distinct from Christian personal law.

Criticism :-

The nation’s unique religious and cultural background compelled in adopting a Uniform Civil Code. Critics claim that enforcing a single civil code could violate the right to exercise one’s religion and one’s culture. According to them there should be personal laws for religious practices rather than having a single , unified code

Support :-

Those who support the establishment of a uniform civil code argue that doing so will advance social justice, gender equality, and national unification.Basically they argue that if various religious communities have their own personal rules , then it might discriminate women’s rights in relation to marriage, divorce, and inheritance.

Landmark judgements regarding Article 44

Sarla Mudgal, President, Kalyani v. Union of India

  • Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860) was at the center of the case Sarla Mudgal, President, Kalyani v UOI, AIR 1995 SC 1531. The crime of bigamy is punishable under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • However according to the ” Shariat Act” , a personal law of muslims , they are allowed to practice polygamy and are thus excluded from this jurisdiction.
  • Once the wife learned that her husband had married another woman while she was still alive, she filed a writ petition against him and he converted to Islam to avoid being subject to Section 494.
  • The defense of her husband was that he had converted his religion from Hinduism to Islam and thus he can have four wives at a time.

Mohd. Ahmad Khan v. Shah Bano Begum

  • In the case of Mohd. Ahmad Khan v. Shah Bano Begum AIR 1985 SC 945, the question was whether section 125 and 127(3) (b) of CrPC applicable on a divorced muslim lady.
  • A husband evicted her wife after 43 years of marriage.
  • The wife filed a petition for spousal support , In 1979, he divorced her using the Islamic practice of talaq (triple talaq).
  • He argued in court that his responsibility to support his ex-wife ended once he divorced her and paid the requisite amount of dower during the iddat period.
  • The woman was liable to get Rs. 25/- per month in maintenance by her husband in a 1979 ruling by the Court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class).
  • In 1980, the woman filed her case with the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The High Court ruled that the new monthly maintenance cost should be Rs. 179.20/-.

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