The Uttarakhand cabinet is poised to pass the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill in the state assembly next week, marking a significant development after a prolonged period of anticipation. The UCC draft, aimed at fostering equality and uniformity in personal laws across different religious communities, is expected to address various critical issues concerning marriage, divorce, inheritance, and population control.
Here are the key highlights of the proposed UCC Bill in Uttarakhand:
The UCC Bill in Uttarakhand may criminalise practices like halala, iddat, and triple talaq, which govern marriage and divorce under Muslim personal law, aiming to protect the rights of Muslim women.
The proposed UCC legislation is likely to impose a ban on polygamy, emphasising monogamous relationships and discouraging the practice of multiple marriages.
The bill is expected to set a uniform marriage age for both men and women across religious communities, ensuring equality and safeguarding the rights of individuals.
While promoting uniformity, the UCC Bill may exempt tribal communities, comprising 2.9 per cent of the state’s population, from certain provisions to respect their distinct cultural practices and traditions. In a bid to address population growth, the UCC draft may include provisions for uniformity in the number of children, reflecting the government’s emphasis on effective family planning.
The proposed legislation aims to ensure equal rights for men and women in matters relating to inheritance, promoting gender equality, and fairness in asset distribution.
The UCC is expected to regulate live-in relationships, providing legal clarity and protection for couples opting for such arrangements. Once implemented, the UCC will establish a comprehensive legal framework for uniform marriage, divorce, land, and property laws applicable to all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliations.
The UCC panel received a substantial number of written suggestions, totaling 2.33 lakh, and conducted over 60 meetings, engaging with approximately 60,000 individuals to gather inputs and ensure comprehensive deliberation.
If enacted, Uttarakhand will become the first state in India post-independence to adopt the UCC, following the precedent set by Goa during the Portuguese rule, marking a significant milestone in the state’s legal and social landscape.
The proposal for the implementation of the Common Civil Code will be discussed in the Uttarakhand Assembly on February 3. Later, on February 2 evening, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will chair a meeting of his cabinet, after which the government will table the UCC Bill in the Assembly on February 6.
The UCC drafting committee, led by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, submitted the draft to Chief Minister Dhami on February 2. The Common Civil Code proposes Common Civil laws for all communities in the State.
The draft was handed over to the chief minister by the five-member committee headed by retired Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai. Once implemented, Uttarakhand will become the first Indian State after independence to adopt the UCC.
At an event organised at the Mukhya Sevak Sadan at the Chief Minister’s Camp Office, Dhami on February 2, said, “We promised our people to bring the Common Civil Code in Uttarakhand before the Assembly goes into session. The rollout of the Common Civil Code will be in line with a resolution adopted by the BJP.”
The introduction of the UCC draft bill in Uttarakhand signifies a historic step towards legal uniformity and equality in civil matters. The proposed reforms, spanning various aspects of personal and family life, aim to create a more inclusive and equitable legal framework for the state’s residents. The upcoming assembly session holds the promise of ushering in transformative changes in Uttarakhand’s legal landscape.