‘Equal rights’ in Uttarakhand; CM Dhami introduces Bill on Uniform Civil Code : The Tribune India

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‘Equal rights’ in Uttarakhand; CM Dhami introduces Bill on Uniform Civil Code

The Act includes points related to ban on polygamy, equal inheritance rights and mandatory declaration of live-in relationships

‘Equal rights’ in Uttarakhand; CM Dhami introduces Bill on Uniform Civil Code

Members of Uttarakhand Numainda Group protest against the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill during a special session of Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly, in Dehradun, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. PTI



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, February 6

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday tabled the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) 2024 Bill in the ongoing special four-day session of the state assembly amid the chanting of “Vande Mataram” and “Jai Shri Ram” by MLAs of the ruling BJP.

Earlier, Dhami called it a moment of pride for Uttarakhand, the first state to bring such a law. “With the aim of giving equal rights to the citizens of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand, a Uniform Civil Code bill will be introduced in the Assembly today. It is a moment of pride for all the people of the state that we will be known as the first state in the country to move towards implementing UCC,” he posted on X.

Features include mandatory declaration of live-in relationships 

On Sunday, the Uttarakhand Cabinet approved the final draft of the UCC proposing uniform civil laws for all communities in the state, irrespective of caste and religion, providing a legal framework for uniform marriage, divorce, land, property, and inheritance laws for all citizens, irrespective of their religion.

Impacting lakhs across the state, once implemented there will be a uniform legal marriageable age for girls and boys across faiths, mandatory reporting of live-in relationships, ban on polygamy and discriminatory customs of some faiths.

After the implementation of the UCC, it will be mandatory to register live-in relationships on a web portal in Uttarakhand. For not registering, a couple can face imprisonment of six months or a fine of Rs 25,000 or both, according to reports, adding that it is on the basis of the receipt that the couple receive they will be able to get a house, hostel or PG on rent.

Live-in relationship is defined in the UCC

According to it only an adult man and an adult woman will be able to live in a live-in relationship. They should not be already married or in a live-in relationship with anyone else.

The registrar will inform parents or guardians of the couple registering.

Other proposals include ban on child marriage and a standardised marriageable age for girls across all faiths, and a uniform process for divorce to achieve gender equality and social cohesion. It seeks to ban practices such as ‘halala’ and ‘iddat’ (Islamic practices a woman must go through after a divorce or the death of the husband).

Other features include equal property rights for sons and daughters, elimination of distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children, and equal treatment for adopted and biological children.

UCC and BJP

The UCC is the only pending Lok Sabha poll promise of the BJP which has fulfilled the other two pledges — Abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.  Instead of pushing a national-level UCC, the BJP is bringing the common personal law through the state Assemblies which observers say is a better way of “testing the ground”.

Once it becomes an Act, Uttarakhand will become the first state in the country after Independence to adopt the UCC. Several BJP ruled states in the country, including Gujarat and Assam, have expressed keenness to follow the Uttarakhand UCC model.

UCC and Opposition

Before the bill was tabled, there were protests inside the Assembly by opposition members who claimed that they were not given time to study its provisions. They also accused the government of ignoring the “rules of conduct of business”.

“It seems the government wants to pass the bill without a debate in violation of the legislative traditions,” Leader of Opposition Yashpal Arya was quoted as saying.

Congress leader Harish Rawat accused the Centre of using Uttarakhand for tokenism. “The Central Government is using a sensitive state like Uttarakhand for tokenism. If they want to bring UCC, it should have been brought by the central government,” he was quoted as saying.

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The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#BJP #Uniform Civil Code UCC #Uttarakhand


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