The Kerala High Court on Friday, December 9, requested the central government to seriously consider having a 'Uniform Marriage Code' in India to promote the "common welfare and the good of spouses in matrimonial disputes".
The bench comprising Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Shoba Annamma Eapen made the observation stating that the current law differentiates parties on the basis of their religion when it comes to matrimonial relationships.
"The time has come for a change in the law applicable to the parties on a common uniform platform. The law differentiates parties based on religion in regard to welfare qua matrimonial relationship," the court said. Adding further, it stated that in a secular country, the legal paternalistic approach should be on the common good of the citizens rather than based on religion.
"The state’s concern must be to promote the welfare and good of its citizens, and religion has no place in identifying the common good," it said while hearing the petition by a Christian couple who were seeking divorce under section 10A of the Divorce Act.
"The Union Government should seriously consider having a uniform marriage code in India to promote the common welfare and good of spouses in matrimonial disputes," the Kerala HC said. It is pertinent to mention uniform marriage code is a part of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) which aims to establish one common civil code for the people in the country rather than multiple personal laws based on religion.
While the UCC finds a mention in Article 44 of the Constitution which reads, "The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India," it is not binding being a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution.
On July 7, 2021, a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court Justice Pratibha Singh backed the need for a UCC and asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to take the necessary action as deemed appropriate. She was hearing a plea to determine the applicability of the Hindu Marriage Act, of 1955, to the Meena community.
Maintaining that this case highlights the necessity of a UCC, she expressed surprise at the fact that the Centre has failed to take any steps in this regard despite a 1985 Supreme Court verdict in this regard. Meanwhile, the Allahabad HC on November 18, 2021, held that UCC is mandatory. The single-judge bench of Justice Suneet Kumar was hearing a batch of 17 petitions pertaining to protection sought by interfaith couples.