Uttarakhand set to enact Uniform Civil Code, may make it must to report live-in ties : The Tribune India

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Uttarakhand set to enact Uniform Civil Code, may make it must to report live-in ties

Uttarakhand set to enact Uniform Civil Code, may make it must to report live-in ties

UCC panel chairperson Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai hands over the draft to the Uttarakhand CM. ANI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, February 2

BJP-ruled Uttarakhand is all set to become the first state in India to enact a uniform civil code (UCC) law with the expert committee constituted to examine the issue presenting its report to the state government on Friday.

The draft law based on the panel’s proposals will be finalised over the weekend, approved by the state Cabinet and tabled in the special Assembly session convened from February 5.

Panel suggests ban on polygamy, polyandry

  • BJP moves to keep its only pending core promise of UCC after Article 370 abrogation and Ram Mandir construction
  • UCC report submitted to Uttarakhand Government on Friday exempts STs from its ambit
  • The expert panel has recommended blanket ban on polygamy and polyandry

Assam to bring Bill to ban polygamy

The Assam Government will introduce a Bill to end polygamy in the state during the upcoming budget session of the Assembly.

“The enactment of the novel reform will begin from the holy land of Uttarakhand. We are ready to fulfil the promise made to the state people on the eve of 2022 Assembly elections. Once we bring the law, we hope other states will also take a cue,” Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said after receiving the report in Dehradun. Dhami said the law was not being brought to criticise or target anyone. “The idea is to ensure empowerment and non-discrimination,” he said, appealing to all parties to “participate in the discussions on the constructive reform”.

With the UCC law, the BJP would have taken the first steps towards fulfilling its only pending core Lok Sabha poll promise, the other two — Ayodhya Ram Mandir and Article 370 abrogation — already realised. After Uttarakhand, BJP-ruled Gujarat, UP and Madhya Pradesh could also move forward on the UCC, using the instant expert committee draft as the model law.

The BJP expects legal challenges to the Uttarakhand law but will show its intent by enacting it nevertheless, hoping to reap gains in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The ruling party has chosen the route of states to implement the UCC.

The 740-page, four volume report submitted to Dhami is learnt to have exempted Scheduled Tribes from the ambit of common personal law to preserve their unique tribal customs and traditions. The tribals, BJP’s core constituency, had expressed grave concerns when discussions about the UCC began in Uttarakhand. The committee is, however, learnt to have proposed banning polyandry and polygamy across faiths.

“The focus of the report is on non-discrimination. Therefore, regressive practices like Nikah halala, which requires a woman to marry another man to return to her first husband, will have to go. Polygamy and polyandry will have to go,” top sources told The Tribune. The recommendations, if accepted and drafted into a law, would transform the lives of women, especially of the Muslim community, by ending all discriminatory practices and ensuring their empowerment, said sources. In another major suggestion, the committee is learnt to have recommended mandatory intimation and notification of live-in ties in order to build safeguards for people in such relationships. The experts have favoured penalising those hiding such relationships. The issue of vulnerabilities in live-in relations had triggered a debate after the May 2022 gruesome murder of Shradha Walkar by her partner Aaftab Poonawala in New Delhi.

“So far as live-in relationships go, no one can hide or keep them anonymous. People in such relationships will have to inform some authority. If they don’t, they will face penalties,” said sources. Asked how live-in relations would be regulated, sources said Uttarakhand already had a provision of mandatory registration of marriages. “This same law can be expanded to cover live-in relations,” a source explained.

The Tribune has learnt that the expert panel steered clear of making recommendations on adoptions or same-sex marriages. The same-sex marriage issue has been examined by the apex court. On October 17, 2023, a five-judge SC Bench pronounced its verdict on petitions seeking marriage equality for LGBTQIA+ persons. The Bench unanimously held that there was no fundamental right to marry and that the court could not recognise LGBTQIA+ persons’ right to marry under the Special Marriages Act.

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#BJP #Uniform Civil Code UCC #Uttarakhand


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