ADV YATISH NAIK 28th Apr 2022
Article 44 of the Constitution though a Directive Principle of State Policy calls upon the State to endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all its citizens throughout the territory of India. A lot of discussion has been generated in the public fora on the subject and hence I seek to pen a few facts to reflect the matrix in the right perspective encapsulating the need for the implementation of the mandate of Article 44 in its letter and spirit towards securing a uniformly applicable regime of law to all citizens in the matters of personal law as enshrined therein.
The National Commission to review the working of the Constitution (NCRWC) which was constituted by the NDA Government on 22nd February 2000 headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice M.N Venkatachaliah has in para 35 of Chapter III of its report suggested a mechanism for the Realisation of Directive Principles. The Directive principles contained in Part IV of the Constitution constitute the high ideals set out by the learned men who drafted the Constitution.
While deliberating on the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constituent Assembly on the 19th November 1948, Dr Ambedkar had opined that ' It is the intention of this Assembly that in future both the legislature and the executive should not merely pay lip service to these principles enacted in this part, but that they should be made the basis of all executive and legislative action that may be taken hereafter in the matter of the governance of the country.'
The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of V. Markandeya v State of AP reported in AIR 1989 SC 1308 had held that ' Fundamental rights and the Directive Principles consititute " Coinsciences of the Constitution". The Constitution aims at bringing about a synthesis between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy by giving the former the place of pride and to the latter a place of permanence , together they form the core of the Constitution. They constitute its true conscience and without faithfully implementing the Directive Principles, it is not possible to achieve the Welfare State contemplated under the Constitution.'
Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that ' The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.'
The then Chief Justice of India , Justice V.N.Khare speaking for the Supreme Court of India along with Justice Sinha and Justice Lakshman held in the case of John Vallamattom v Union of India reported in AIR 2003 SC 2902 that ' A Common Civil Code will help the cause of national integration by removing all contradictions based on ideologies'.
In Goa post its liberation ,the Goa Daman and Diu Administration Act ,1962 was enacted which provides in Section 5(1) that all laws which were in force at the time of Liberation would remain inforce untill repealed.
Thus Goa continued with the prevailing Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 in all matters of personal laws which applied to all its citizens irrespective of religion and thus embodied the ideals contained in Article 44 of the Constitution. The application of the uniform Civil Law in Goa in matters of personal law inter alia thus makes Goa a model State in the Country in the said domain.
Hence the success of the Uniform Civil law in Goa should pave the way for its National adoption as the realisation of the mandate of Article 44 of the Constitution will secure and guarantee the ideals set out therein by the architects of our Constitution.
(Yatish Naik is a Goa BJP leader)