Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code Bill tabled; polygamy, polyandry banned : The Tribune India

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Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code Bill tabled; polygamy, polyandry banned

Violation to invite jail; tribals exempt

Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code Bill tabled; polygamy, polyandry banned

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami and MLAs during the special session of the state assembly in Dehradun on Tuesday. ANI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, February 6

Compulsory registration of marriages and all live-in relationships, ban on polygamy, polyandry, nikah halala and discriminatory marital practises across faiths, jail terms and fines for violations are part of the Uniform Civil Code of Uttarakhand-2024 introduced in the state Assembly on Tuesday.

Chief Minister of BJP-ruled state Pushkar Singh Dhami tabled the draft Bill, a first for any state in post-Independence India. Other BJP-ruled states are also likely to study and table the same Code in respective Assemblies with the ruling party at the Centre taking the first step to fulfil its pending promise to roll out the UCC.

Live-in ties: Woman to get maintenance

  • Polygamy, polyandry banned; nikah halala to invite up to three-year jail term, Rs 1L fine
  • Live-in partners’ children to be legitimate; maintenance for woman if deserted
  • Registrar to inform parents of live-in partners if either of the two is below 21 years of age
  • Non-registration of marriage to invite up to Rs 10K fine
  • Register of marriages open to public inspection on fee payment to registrar
  • Code applicable to all people of Uttarakhand whether they reside in state or not

Penalties

  • Polygamy: Up to 6 months jail or up to Rs 50K fine; further up to 1-month jail for default on fine payment
  • Triple Talaq: Up to 3-year jail & fine for anyone dissolving marriage in contravention of code
  • Nikah Halala: Up to 3-year jail & Rs 1L fine for anyone who compels another to observe any condition before remarriage; 6-month jail for default on fine

The Code covers all Uttarakhand people whether they reside in the state or not, but exempts Scheduled Tribes who are 3% of the state’s population. The draft Code gives protection for children of live-in relations and entitles a woman deserted by a live-in partner to maintenance by courts.

The 392-Section and 172-page Bill makes a maiden legislative attempt in India to regulate live-in ties but steers clear of recommending anything on same-sex marriages.

The Code does not cover adoptions. It covers child custody and maintenance issues arising only from marital disputes and not in a standalone way.

On live-in ties, the Bill says: “It shall be obligatory for partners to live-in relationship within the state, whether they are residents of Uttarakhand or not, to submit a statement to the registrar within whose jurisdiction they are living. Residents of Uttarakhand staying in a live-in relationship outside the state may submit a statement to the registrar under whose jurisdiction they ordinarily live.

“Any child of a live-in relationship shall be a legitimate child of the couple,” it adds.

Partners will similarly need to register termination of a live-in relationship. The state will appoint a registrar to maintain such a register of live-in relationships with the registrar mandated by law to inform local cops of such ties and also inform parents/guardians of partners if either of the two are under 21 years.

Non-registration of live-in relations will invite jail terms and penalties.

Whoever stays in a live-in relationship for over a month from the date of entering it without submitting a statement will be punished with imprisonment that may extend to 3 months or with fine up to Rs 10,000 or both. Anyone making a false statement can be punished with up to 3 months jail and up to Rs 25,000 fine or both. Any partner who fails to submit a statement after being given a 30-day notice by the registrar can invite up to six months in jail or up to Rs 25,000 fine or both. The Code makes marriage, divorce and inheritance rights uniform across all religions.

It bans polygamy and polyandry in the very first chapter, saying: “A marriage may be solemnised or contracted between a man and a woman if neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage.” Woman in a polygamous marriage can seek divorce once code applies.

Marriage registration has been made mandatory with provisions for village panchayat and municipal-level marriage sub-registrars.

Importantly, the Code clarifies while the marriage law will be uniform across religions, marriages can be performed as per faith-based customs.

“Marriage may be solemnised or contracted in accordance with the religious beliefs, ceremonies, including but not limited to Saptapadi and Ashirwad (in Hindus); Nikah (in Muslims); Holy union (Christians) and Anand Karaj (Sikhs),” it says.

Uttarakhand residents living outside the state would also need to register their marriage by submitting a memorandum.

Non-registration within 60 days of marriage, in a first, will be punished with a fine up to Rs 10,000 and falsification of registration with jail up to three months and fine up to Rs 25,000 or both.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Yashpal Arya sought the Bill to be referred to a select committee of the House for detailed study. Earlier, the Opposition protested suspension of question hour to introduce the Code.

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