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Re: UCC



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Social Conditions

  Minimum Wage
  Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work to be made clear
  Introduction of Social Security Net
  Introduction of identity card
  Removal of Age discrimination at work
  Creating conditions so that reservations will no longer be necessary
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At 06:21 PM 10/6/98 -0700, Sanjeev wrote:

>
>The principle of choice implies that you can choose howsoever you wish to
>marry. My marriage has no externalities on you. So what is the issue?
>Please make clear. I don't see any relationship between "UCC" and moving
>into the 20th century. Please enlighten me. This was a point on which the
>consensus so far was that people would have a choice to be governed by
>personal laws. I see that it is not on the web yet, however.
>

My two bits on UCC.
There are two options:
1] Create a uniform civil code for all Indian residents.
2] Allow separate groups to live under their own personal laws.

Though both issues have their own problems, I believe the lesser of the
two
evils is the first option - UCC.
.   There is a fundamental inconsistency problem with separate personal
laws
-- they argue for diversity in personal laws, but yet steamroll
uniformity
within their defined groups. Muslims from different parts of India
certainly
do not all follow the same personal laws (and certainly differed more
greatly prior to the 1937/38% Muslim Personal Law which froze the
Shariat as
the law governing all Muslims in India). The only argument to defend
personal laws is that differences across religions are more important
than
differences within a religion. Sounds fair enough. But, it nonetheless
implies that the State has a different view to minorities depending on
the
size of a minority. E.g., why are there not separate personal laws for
Sikhs?
.   Sticking with separate personal laws opens up other questions.
First,
who decides the personal laws for each group? The minority MPs for their
respective minority groups? Unelected religious leaders whose authority
may
not be respected by all? If this latter option, then we must question
whether it is consistent with the freedom of religion, if unelected
religious leaders have the backing of the State in pushing religious
laws
contrary a person's local personal laws. (I have no problem if a leader
could do such w/o the backing of the State.)
.   A uniform civil code, however, is more appealing, though it too has
its
faults. A UCC allows every citizen to enjoy the best laws available in
all
traditions. It promotes a greater sense of unity in the country (though,
I
believe there are less obtrusive ways to effect such). Finally, if
effected
through elected representatives, it allows people a chance to
participate in
creating their own society.
.   The biggest drawback to a UCC has to do again with the
majority/minority
issue. E.g., even in the US, despite its 'secularism', the Mormons had
to
give up polygamy as it contradicted the morals/ethics/values of the
majority
of Americans. In India, to create a UCC, we have to sacrifice some
minorities' laws (and hopefully also some of the majority's) in order to
arrive at a (political) consensus.

.   I would like to qualify the above by saying that the issue of a UCC
is
of secondary importance to creating wealth (hopefully with greater
income
equality). In fact, the issue of a UCC will likely be MUCH easier to
deal
with when people do not organize into different groups in order to
access
scarce resources -- i.e., the greater the wealth, the less intense this
competition between groups (though individual compeition will stay
healthy).

- Pratap Raju

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