Guwahati: In a significant development, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma revealed plans to introduce the Common Civil Code during the current budget session of the state assembly. The announcement comes on the heels of Uttarakhand passing the UCC, prompting Assam to reconsider its legislative priorities.
Addressing the media, CM Sarma disclosed that the state cabinet had deliberated on both the Polygamy Bill and the UCC. Initially contemplating the introduction of a bill prohibiting polygamy, the Assam government now seeks alignment between the UCC and the Polygamy Bill to establish a cohesive legislative framework. However, a hurdle arises as the government aims to criminalise polygamy, contrasting with the Common Civil Code, where it is treated as a civil offence.
“The country needs a uniform policy, so we are aligning both the Polygamy Bill and UCC to create a robust legislature,” affirmed CM Sarma. Acknowledging the technical complexities, CM Sarma intends to consult with central leadership for guidance on the appropriate course of action.
Simultaneously, a committee of experts, appointed by the Assam government, is diligently working to harmonise the Polygamy Bill and UCC. CM Sarma emphasised that these reforms are long-term endeavours, and the government is committed to ensuring thorough deliberation. If the expert committee finalises the bill, it may be tabled in the current session; otherwise, it will be considered in the subsequent assembly session.
The UCC seeks to establish a common legal framework for marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc., superseding individual religious laws. Notably, it prohibits bigamy and polygamy, aligning with the government’s push for uniformity in civil matters.
In another legislative move, the Assam cabinet has passed a bill targeting magical healing practices, set to be presented in the assembly. CM Sarma emphasised the significance of the legislation in curbing evangelism, which targets particularly tribal communities for conversion by missionaries. Describing religious statuesque as paramount, he expressed the government’s commitment to banning evangelism in Assam and positioned the healing act as a milestone in this direction. CM Sarma said, ”this is a very important bill to curb conversion of tribal people in the state. so the government is piloting such an act. We want to ban evangelism in Assam.”
As the legislative landscape in Assam evolves, the introduction of the UCC alongside measures addressing polygamy and magical healing reflects the government’s proactive approach to legal reforms. The deliberative process underscores the commitment to achieving comprehensive and uniform legislation, laying the groundwork for a more equitable society.