- Thought Process before Answer Writing
- How to introduce the answer?
- How to write Body of the Answer?
- Model Answer in English
- Model Answer in Hindi
To get best mileage out of this article series:
- First study the question topic from books and web resources.
- Answer each question in 200 words in 8 minutes in blue or black pen only.
- For answer writing use un-ruled A4 sized papers with 1-inch margin on all sides.
- Then read the remaining article.
- Discuss / Enumerate the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).
- “Instead of striving for a uniform civil code, we should strive for gender neutral personal laws for individual religions.” Critically examine this statement.
- Do you think the uniform civil code will ever become a reality in India? What other viable alternative would you suggest?
- Wrong track: the question is not asking you to write WHY do we NEED UCC? It’s already implied that something is wrong in the present system hence DPSP/SC/experts recommend UCC. Question is “(then) why we are unable to do so? OR what else can we do”?
- Of course, to lay the foundations at some places, you’ll have to mention “WHY UCC needed”: because injustice to women and adopted children in xyz religions, but don’t waste too many words and sentences on that “WHY” part.
- UCC and DPSP are not the officially recognized abbreviations so avoid it in the answer, because some humanities professors get irritated by such things. I’ve used the abbreviations here only to help you in faster reading.
- Avoid Perfectionism: This is General Studies (GS) paper, not political science or law optional paper. So, there is no need to cite ball by ball court judgements and chronologies of Committees. Generic list of ‘possible factors / observations / suggestions’ is sufficient.
- Avoid Data Cramming: It is not necessary to memorize specifically that DPSP Article #44 requires states to implement UCC. If you can remember it, well and good but avoid perfectionism and data cramming because tomorrow they may ask in the challenges in Animal husbandry or dairy industry in General Studies Mains Paper3- then will you be able to memorize and recall Article 48 of DPSP!?
- Irrespective of whether they’re asking you to discuss, narrate, or critically examine- there are only three ways to write introduction: 1) Define the terms or 2) Give origin of the issue or 3) Give data.
- You may start the answer by defining either UCC or DPSP, but the ideal approach will be to give origin of UCC as a “Concept”, then in the body, link it with DPSP, SC judgements etc. to have a consistent flow in the answer. This will save you from verbose repetition in the same concepts and rationales in the body.
After the mutiny of 1857, the social reforms zeal of the British had declined. They avoided interfering in our religious practices. Consequently, the British legacy in India is common penal code (drafted by Lord Macaulay) but not a common civil code. After Independence, Prime minister Pt.Jawaharlal Nehru, and the law minister Dr. B. R. Ambedkar both wanted to enact a uniform civil code but…..
- This is wrong way to begin introduction because If you start from 1857, When will you reach the present decade in 200 words!? If this was an essay, then it’s a different case.
- Besides, observe the (hidden) tense of the questions. They’re NOT asking ‘what factors prevented the UCC since independence’, it’s asking in general terms “what factors are preventing at present“. So, don’t waste too many words on historical narratives and chronologies.
- Don’t give the definition or origin of DPSP because that’s like bowling from outside stadium. You’ll run out of breath (space) before you reach the pitch (body).
In India, each community is governed by its own customs and personal laws related to marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption, succession and inheritance. The idea behind uniform civil code is to merge them into a single gender neutral code applicable to all citizens of India. But, the following factors have delayed its enactment:
In all three questions, the basic points remain the same i.e.
- Political feasibility / hesitation / unwillingness (although avoid the last word, because it might portray you’ve a very clichéd and stereotypical caricature of politicians in your mind.)
- what areas of marriage and family practices need to be ‘uniform’ and ‘codified’ and what should be kept out of it? Is there consensus among stakeholders on this question?
I’m constructing the body only for the first question. It’s for you to use, manipulate, edit and enhance it for your answers for second and third question. First let’s brainstorm the points then compress it.
- Our constitution requires the State to secure a uniform civil code and requires its citizens to renounce the practices derogatory to the women and simultaneously, it also provides the citizens with fundamental right to practice and propagate their religion.
- But, judiciary and legislature are divided on which of them will have the precedence in which event?
- For example, in the Shah Bano case, the Supreme court opined ruled that Muslim women also have right to maintenance under criminal procedure code (CrPC). [Choice of Words: SC doesn’t give opinion, it rules, orders, delivers judgement.]
- But, given the opposition by the orthodox elements, the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi enacted a law to prohibit the application of CrPC on Muslim Personnel laws. [that “a law” was called Muslim women (Protection of Rights of Divorce) Act, 1986. but not possible to recall exact title in exam. So always find a ‘way out’, using right words.]
- This has created a precedence of ambivalence and hesitation by successive governments against the practices derogatory to women. [At a paan-parlour you could simply say “the Congressi appeasement of orthodox Muslim Males for Vote bank politics is the root cause of all problems.” but you’re not sitting at the paan-parlour or forwarding a message on social media but writing a formal answer for the civil services exam. Therefore, choice of words should be civil and controlled.]
- Whether it’s Maitri Karaar (friendship deed) by the Hindu males to circumvent monogamy or triple talaq by the Muslim males or the hardships faced by Christian mothers in claiming right over dead son’s property- until all religions’ individual personnel laws to a gender-neutral ground, the progress towards UCC is difficult.
Thus, by mentioning three major religions, I have made it a balanced answer. Yes, there are similar problems in other religions or sects also and some provisions could be anti-males also, but we lack both the time and space to fit them in 200 words.
The logical structure is similar to MODVAT, CENVAT, VAT then finally GST. Reforms are always in gradual manner with consensus of all Stakeholders-You can’t create things directly in the air- be it GST or UCC. Speaking of stakeholders let’s start second part of body:
- Dr. B.R.Ambedkar had observed that while DPSP are non-justiciable in nature, If any government ignores them they’ll have to answer before the electorate. [In mains and interview, always use “Dr.” prefix before Ambedkar]
- But in the public discourse, UCC has not became a pressing issue unlike the demand for liquor ban by the women or the workers’ welfare by the trade unions. [Implied: these two are also DPSP subjects and political parties are more proactive on them because of voters’ demand e.g. Bihar prohibition]
While all progressive citizens and leaders agree to the need of reforming the personnel laws. But, there is no urgency to arrive at consensus over the issues such as:
- Unlike the Hindu Marriage Act, some other religions do not prohibit marriage between cousins. So, should this particular aspect be kept out of the code?
- Christian women have to wait for two years’ period before finalizing the divorce. Others can do it in one year. Then, what should be the uniform timeframe for reconciliation before divorce?
- In the event of a son’s death, what should be the uniform rule for property rights between his destitute mother and widowed wife irrespective of region?
- What should be the uniform age of consent, given the conflicting definitions in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) vs. the Muslim personal Law? The answer to such question requires clear demarcation between what constitutes an ‘essential religious practice’ and what is a ‘social custom’ from the medieval times.
- Certain practices followed by the schedule tribes are more progressive or pro-women than the major religions. Then in UCC, should the standard of gender neutrality to be tilted towards women or should the STs be brought down to a “less progressive” uniform civil code? [E.g. In Tripura, some communities have ‘reverse-dowry’ wherein the groom has to work in bride’s farm for compensating her parents of ‘future loss’ of working hand (of their daughter). In UCC, will you ‘deduct’ that much amount during post-divorce maintenance to wife? or will you outlaw this type of ‘dowry’? if yes, then read next point.]
- In the sixth schedule areas, the local councils have exclusive lawmaking powers regarding social customs and family law. This poses a challenge in applying a civil code uniformly throughout India. [Choice of Words: don’t use expressions like “tribal practices are different than “mainstream”. Because not everything mainstream is progressive e.g. STs permitted remarriage of widows and divorcee women even before the social reform movements in British India. and Use the constitutionally correct language only. Some humanities professors tend to get very irritated otherwise. And you don’t know who is checking your paper!]
- Practices related to actual marriage ceremony- Hindus tie mangalsutra, Christians exchange rings, its timing, exchange of food, etc. vary. [This is a non-factor, because the objective of UCC is not to the actual marriage ceremony uniform for every religion. The couple has to do formal registration irrespectively. So, to fill the 200 words space, you should not just keep adding irrelevant points. UPSC’s official question paper instruction itself says “content more important than its length”.]
For “Discuss” type question, your conclusion is simply the summary of what you’ve written in the body.
“Although courts have highlighted the need of a gender-neutral UCC in various judgements, but till date it’s not enacted partly due to political hesitation in reforming individual laws first, and partly due to lack of consensus on the scope and span of its provisions.”
- Notice that I’ve ignored the mention of 6th schedule area in the summary. If you’re try to incorporate all the body points again in conclusion, it’ll take lot of space. So, just distill the main points.
When you’re asked to “critically examine” or “do you think” or “suggest alternatives” then conclusion will be “finding/judgmental/taking a stand- yes or no? are you in favour or against?” Let’s try both ways:
(Against UCC): Although both directive principles and supreme court has highlighted the need of UCC, but given the aforesaid constrains, we should rather strive to make individual religion’s personal laws ‘gender neutral’, rather than a uniform civil code applicable to all religions.
- Even when concluding against UCC, avoid extreme statements like “its inconsistent with fundamental right to religious freedom”, or that “DPSP aim for a utopia but UCC is impractical in real life democracy”. UPSC conducts this exam to select officers, not TV-debates panelists. You should be graceful, civil, humble in your expression.
- Besides, when boss/minister says “do X”, the IAS can’t shut down with “I can’t / I won’t do X”, you should propose “How about I “Y” instead, because these are the problems I see in “X”!”. [same lesson for GS4 Ethics case studies]
(In favour of UCC): “Although directive principles are non-justiciable in nature, political parties are answerable to voters. Since women-sensitive issues are gaining prominence in elections, the aforementioned constrains will be resolved eventually and the uniform civil code will become a reality.”
- In the Third question (do you think UCC will become reality? Suggest alternative.”) if you use above conclusion then no need to suggest or explain why you’ve not written any other viable alternative. Because, you’ve said yourself UCC will become a reality. Whatever exploration or supporting or debunking of ‘alternative’ you wanted to do, you should have done it in the body itself. No need to repeat same thing in conclusion again.
- Above conclusion also implies / summarizes your other “finding” from the body i.e. 1) individual person can’t get it enforced via PIL 2) but if this becomes election issue, politicians’ hesitation will reduce and stakeholders will arrive at consensus.
- I could have ended with writing “….But until women-sensitive issues gain more prominence in elections, uniform civil code will remain a distant dream.” but that’s has a negative and defeatist tone. If you’re in favor of UCC then You should end on positive note that “UCC will happen someday”!
Even after deleting my comments and side notes from introduction, body and conclusion, any of the above answers will be ~560 words. So let’s compress it in the required range of 200 words. [so consider this an example of precis writing as well.]
Q. Discuss / Enumerate the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy. 200 words
In India, each community is governed by its own customs and laws for marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption, succession and inheritance. Uniform civil code aims to merge them into a single law applicable to all the citizens of India. But, it’s hampered by following factors:
- Shah Bano case and the aftermath events have shown the division between judiciary and legislature over the priority order of 1) Freedom of religion 2) Duty to renounce practices derogatory to women 3) uniform civil code.
- Whether it’s maitri karaar by the Hindu males or triple talaq by the Muslim males or the hardships faced by Christian mothers in property rights over dead children, the successive governments have shown ambivalence and hesitation in reforms due to their perceived political gains or losses.
- While directive principles are non-justiciable in nature, political parties have to to answer before the electorate.
- But the issues concerning women voters have become an election point only in the recent times. Hence, until individual personal laws are elevated to gender-neutral ground, progress towards a common civil code is difficult.
Lack of Consensus
Stakeholders are divided over the scope of “civil code” versus the span of “uniformity”, what constitutes an “essential religious practice” versus what is a “social custom” from the medieval times? Consequently, no consensus over:
- Whether marriage between be cousins prohibited or kept out of the code?
- What should be the uniform age of consent, given the conflicting definitions in POCSO Act vs Muslim personal Law?
- Uniform time limit for re-conciliation before finalizing divorce, given the longer duration in Christianity.
- Property rights of destitute mothers, widowed wife and adopted children for all religions.
- Application of this code in the sixth schedule areas & over the customs of scheduled tribes.
~end of answer: ~230 words~
Where’s the Conclusion!?
You’ll notice that I’ve omitted conclusion! Why?
- If I was unable to recollect good number of factors points in the body, then I would have written a conclusion to reach the 200 word limit. But I’ve already filled the page with long list of factors.
- IF it was a “critically examine” type then a conclusion was required- to give your final stand on the matter. But, this is a ‘discuss / list factors’ type question. So, conclusion would have been mere summary of what was written in body. So it was not going to enrich the answer further in terms of content. [and UPSC itself said ‘content more important than length, and length you’ve already run out because they give fixed space answer sheets!]
So considering all these, and for the reasons of space and practicality, I’ve skipped. Besides:
- 125 words answer: conclusion unnecessary.
- 200 words answer: conclusion desirable but not always ‘essential’.
- 1200 words essay: conclusion is MOST ESSENTIAL. So work accordingly.
- In ideal situation, you should write full form first, before writing abbreviation but I’ve not done it with POCSO. Because in real exam hall scenario: 1) space constrain 2) you may even forget exact full form in the exam hall.
- For the remaining two questions, you may write model answers yourself in the comment section.
प्रश्न – चर्चा कीजिए की वे कौन से संभावित कारक है जो भारत को राज्य की नीतिके निर्देशक तत्व में प्रदत्त के अनुसार अपने नागरिको के लिए समान सिविल* संहिता को अभिनिमित करने से रोकते है.
(*) I’ve lifted the Hindi translation of the question verbatim from the UPSC Mains-2015 question paper itself. They should have used the word “नागरिक संहिता” rather than “सिविल संहिता”.
उत्तर: “समान नागरिक संहिता” का उद्देश्य भारत के विभिन्न समुदायो में विवाह, विच्छेद, दत्तक-ग्रहण, विरासत, उत्त्राधिकारिता इत्यादि विषयों के लिए बने अलग अलग व्यक्तिगत कानूनो का विलय कर एक ऐसा कानून बनाना है जो सभी नागरिको पर एकसमान रूप से लागू हो. किन्तु निम्नलिखित कारकोने इस प्रकिया को बाधित किया है:
- शाह बानो केस तथा बाद की घटनाओ से प्रतीत होता है की न्यायपालिका और विधायिका में १) धार्मिक स्वतंत्रता २) महिला-सम्मान के खिलाफ बनी कुप्रथाओं पर निषेध तथा ३) समान नागरिक संहिता लागू करना- इन मुद्दों में प्राथमिकता-क्रम पर एकराय नही है.
- चाहे वो बहुपत्नीत्व के लिए हिन्दू पुरूषो के “मैत्री करार” या, मुस्लिम-समाज में व्याप्त “तीन तलाक”, या इसाई माताओं का मृत बच्चे पर जायदाद का हक़, ऐसे सभी मुद्दों पर उत्तरोत्तर सरकारों ने राजनितिक लाभ या हानि की चिंतामें दोयम दर्जे का रुख अपनाया है / सुधारात्मक पक्ष की ओर उनकी सक्रियता कम रही है. [निष्क्रियता है, इच्छाशक्ति का अभाव है ऐसे extreme words से बचो.]
- यद्यपि/हालांकि नीति निर्देशक तत्त्व कोर्ट के दायरे से बाहर है गैर-न्यायोचित है, डेमोक्रसी लोकतंत्र में पोलिटिकल पार्टिओं राजनीतिक दलों की वोटर्स मतदाताओं के प्रति जवाबदेही बनती है I
- किन्तु “समान नागरिक संहिता” की ओर जाने का मार्ग दुर्गम रहेगा जबतक महिला-संवेदी विषयो को चुनावी मुद्दोंमें अग्रिमता नही मिलती और व्यक्तिगत कानूनोंमें सुधार कर उन्हें लैंगिक तटस्थता के एकसमान स्तर तक नहीं उठाया जाता.
आम-सहमति का अभाव :-
“नागरिक संहिता” का व्याप कितने रीती-रिवाजो तक होना चाहिए? “समानता” का स्तर क्या होना चाहिए? मध्यकालीन समय से चल रहे कुछ सामाजिक रीति रिवाज क्या आपके धर्म के अभिन्न धार्मिक अवयव है? इन मुद्दों पर हितधारकों में मतभेद है. अत: निम्न मुद्दों पर आम सहमति बनाना अभी बाकी है:
- कजिन्स मेरेज चचेरे भाई-बहनों में विवाह की स्वीकृति निषेध करना है या फिर उसे नागरिक संहिता के क्षेत्र के बाहर रखना है ?
- पोस्को अधिनियम बनाम मुस्लिम पर्सनल लॉ में परस्पर विरोधी डेफिनिशन परिभाषाएं के चलते शादी व् संगती के लिए मिनिमिम उम्र न्यूनतम आयु क्या होनी चाहिए?
- तलाक विवाह-विच्छेद से पहेले रिक्न्सिलीएशन कानूनन सुलह / पुर्नमिलन के लिए दिया जानेवाला समय कितना होना चाहिए? [आप सभी धर्मो के बारे में एकसाथ लिख रहे हो इसलिए “शादी और तलाक” शब्द उपयुक्त नही है. विवाह /विच्छेद जेसे शब्द इस्तेमाल करो.]
- सभी धर्मों की निराश्रित माताओं, विधवाओं तथा दत्तक संतानों के लिए प्रोपर्टी विरासत अधिकार के पैमाने क्या होने चाहिए?
- सिस्क्थ शिड्यूल छठवीं अनुसूची वाले क्षेत्रों तथा आदिवासी अनुसूचित जनजातीओ के अपने रीती-रिवाजो पर इस कोड संहिता का अमल कैसे, कितना और किस स्वरूपमें होना चाहिए? [‘आदिवासी’, ‘दलित’,’हरिजन’ ऐसे शब्द प्रयोगो से बचो. संवैधानिक / सरकारी शब्दों का प्रयोग करो.]
- Don’t write English words in vernacular script of Hindi / Gujarati /Marathi / Punjabi etc. Unless its translation is rare बाकी marriage, minimum age, reconciliation जेसे सामान्य शब्दों के भी अनुवाद तैयार करने की भी आपकी क्षमता नही है तो फिर अंग्रेजी में ही परीक्षा देनी चाहिए, क्योंकि प्राय: प्रादेशिक भाषाओ के अध्यापक भाषाशुध्धि के बारे में उल्टा ज्यादा कट्टरवादी होते है, और सीनियर खिलाड़ी तो खा-पी कर अनुवाद और शुध्ध भाषा का प्रयोग करते ही है. इसलिए अगर कोई नया खिलाडी ये सोचता है की “अपने राज्य का बच्चा है बोलके अध्यापक मुझे अच्छे मार्क्स दे देगा चाहे मेरी भाषा-अभिव्यक्ति और अनुवाद-क्षमता कितनी ही बेदम क्यों न हो!!!”..…तो भाई, वो “कहेता भी दीवाना और सुनता भी दीवाना” वाली बात है.
- Hindi is a cumbersome language for formal answer writing because यद्यपि-तथापि, अपितु-कपितु, के चक्कर में २०० शब्द की लिमिट तो अंग्रेजी माध्यम से ज्यादा जल्दी खत्म हो जाएगी. इसलिए लिखते वक्त ज्यादा सावधानी बर्ते, अन्यथा conclusion/सार तक पहोंचने से पहेले ही कागज खत्म हो जाएगा…. वेसे मेने इस प्रश्न में सार क्यों नही लिखा वो जानने के लिए, अंग्रेजी मॉडल आन्सर देखो. But If you wanted to write conclusion then simply eliminate or compress a few body points.