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Common Civil Code – A Must
Justice P. B. Gajendragadkar
(Published in 1971 Annual Number)
The former Chief Justice of Supreme Court advocates a common civil code for the country, the view endorsed by a recent Supreme Court pronouncement. On the road to secularism, Indian democracy took an important step by enacting different Bills relating to the personal law of the Hindus and thereby constituting a new Hindu Code.
The adoption of the Hindu Code by the Indian Parliament constitutes an important step taken by Indian democracy in secularizing the outlook of the Hindu community and assisting the creation of a new social order within the community itself.
I shall proceed to deal with the question of the common Civil Code. Article 44 of the Indian Constitution enshrines the directive principle that the state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.
Unfortunately, the Indian Parliament has so far not been able to take any step to implement this directive principle and, in my view, it is high time that some decisive action is taken on that behalf without delay.
Before proceeding to emphasise my point that the enactment of a common Civil Code, which is the objective of the directive principles of the Indian Constitution and which can, in one sense, be described as the cornerstone of the fabric of modern secular society contemplated by the directive principles, I would like to recall the fact that when Bills in regard to Hindu Code were introduced in Parliament, they were assailed by two classes of critics.
One class of critics belonged avowedly to the traditional group of Hindus and this class was opposed to the modernisation or secularization of personal law.
They disguised the true character of their opposition and plausibly urged that if Hindu law had to be secularized and modernized, why make a distinction between the Hindus and the Muslims? Why not introduce a common Civil Code? It was not difficult to infer that this plea for a common Civil Code was meant not so much to persuade the government to introduce a common Civil Code, as to induce the government to postpone the introduction of the Hindu Code.


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