Uniform Civil Code and the Dynamics of Muslim Identity in India: An Introduction
Uniform Civil Code and the Dynamics of Muslim Identity in India: An Introduction
Nizamuddin Ahmad Siddiqui
Abstract: Article 44 of the Indian Constitution seeks promulgation of a “Uniform Code” to regulate the civil affairs of the citizens. The language of the provision neither indicates the nature of such a Code nor does it specify the framework within which it shall operate. The Constituent Assembly Debates, however, highlight two sequential implications – one, that the Code will bind Indians in one single identity; and two, that the minorities, especially Muslims find the idea troubling on account of its potential dilution of the Muslim identity. The 21st Law Commission submitted its Consultation Paper (2018) rejecting the possibility of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The suggestion was nullified by a fresh consultation issued by the 22nd Commission (2022) in favour of UCC but without any terms of reference. Several Muslim bodies issued their strong disapproval of the exercise while reiterating that codification on civil matters will be disastrous for minority rights in the country. More recently, however, the State of Uttarakhand has passed the UCC Bill (2024) which seeks to define issues like marriage, divorce, succession and inheritance along majoritarian lines. This introduction to the Special Issue particularly traces these developments to understand and situate the dynamics of Muslim identity in India along with giving a brief overview of the articles included in the Special Issue.

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