Uttarakhand Creates History with Swift Approval of Uniform Civil Code.image/PTI
Uttarakhand Creates History with Swift Approval of Uniform Civil Code
The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill introduced by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami received swift approval from the state Assembly just a day after its introduction. This landmark decision makes Uttarakhand the first state in India to implement a Uniform Civil Code, a legal framework that standardizes laws related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and more.
The UCC Bill, now set to become an Act, is rooted in the recommendations of a high-level committee appointed by the Uttarakhand government. Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana P Desai chaired this committee, ensuring a comprehensive and well-considered draft.
This move towards a Uniform Civil Code precedes the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with indications that the Union Government is contemplating a similar national law. States governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), such as Gujarat and Assam, are reportedly in the process of enacting UCC laws in their respective regions. The Uniform Civil Code holds a significant place in the BJP’s agenda, alongside initiatives like the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The UCC brings about a standardized legal framework for marriage, divorce, and property inheritance, replacing the diverse personal laws associated with different religions. Notably, the common code explicitly prohibits bigamy (marriage while still legally married to another) and polygamy (having multiple spouses simultaneously).
In a gesture towards cultural diversity, the Uttarakhand government has clarified that the Uniform Civil Code will not apply to members of the Scheduled Tribes (ST) community. According to the government’s stance, the UCC will not be applicable to “members of any Scheduled Tribes within the meaning of clause (25) of Article 366 read with Article 142 of the Constitution of India and the persons and group of persons whose customary rights are protected under Part XXI of the Constitution of India.” This ensures that tribal communities maintain their distinct legal frameworks and customary practices outside the scope of the Uniform Civil Code.
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