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A Blueprint For Alternative Frameworks

Sabiha Hussain

By Shimon Shetreet  and Hiram E. Chodosh
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 340, Rs. 895.00


The book Uniform Civil Code for India by Shimon Shetreet and Hiram E. Chodosh provides a comprehensive blueprint for alternative frameworks and courses of action, based on lessons from a comparative context of three nations. The book also seeks to resolve the challenge of introducing the civil code with continued respect for community laws and their social customs. Most important, it provides a fresh set of guidelines and processes that might be helpful to find a solution of the politically sensitive issue and the dilemma in the formulation and implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in India. The blueprint also focuses on the relationship between religion and the state and the authors argue that the proposed set of guidelines would be helpful in removing the suspicion of the communities (Muslim or the Hindu). The authors further elaborate on the two objectives that can be achieved by adopting a Uniform Civil Code: one, it would maximize the sustainability of traditions and values of the community and secondly, it would reinforce constitutional values that prevent discrimination against unfair gender practices. One finds a comprehensive explanation of the interplay between issues of law, culture, and religion in the light of various intracommunity and inter-community disputes in the book. The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the experience of other nations in resolving the challenges in introducing a civil code along with formulating a relationship with the state and religion. This section consists of three sub-themes of law, religion, culture, country studies of law and comparative lessons and the case of India. The most interesting themes of this section is the division of models of religion and state relationships and the idea of classifying the countries of the world in five models to be adopted by the respective countries as per their requirements. The second part elaborates on the debates on different ways to understand the conflict arising out of this issue from the strategies for handling these conflicts. At the same time the term conflict, its nature and types are also explained in a comprehensive manner by the authors. It is argued by the authors that Article 44 of the Constitution has created an unresolved issue that led to a conflict first between the state of India and the communities and secondly, a conflict between a secular state and the religion of its people. The fear of the minority ...

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