An expert committee tasked with creating the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) submitted its findings to the Uttarakhand government on Friday. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami received the report, setting the stage for a historical legislative session. The state’s assembly is scheduled for a special four-day session starting Feb. 5 to deliberate on the UCC bill. Prior to its assembly introduction, the draft will undergo cabinet discussions.
Key Features of the UCC Draft
- Uniform laws for divorce across all religions.
- Standardized rules for post-divorce alimony.
- A unified law governing adoption for all religious groups.
- Equal rights in property division for daughters in all religions.
- Protection of women’s rights in interfaith or intercaste marriages.
- A universal marriage age set at 18 years for girls across all religions.
- Mandatory registration for live-in relationships.
- Exemption of tribal populations from this law.
- Implementation of a one-spouse rule for everyone.
- Legal Reform for Enhanced Law and Order
The introduction of UCC in Uttarakhand has been lauded by legal experts as a necessary reform. Former DGP Ashok Kumar emphasized the need for change in civil laws to empower women and control crime rates effectively.
Fulfilling Electoral Promises
Adopting and applying the UCC was a pivotal promise made by the BJP in the 2022 Assembly elections. Following a historic win, the Chief Minister expressed gratitude for the public’s support for the initiative. The cabinet promptly approved the formation of a special committee to draft the UCC immediately after the government formation in March 2022, led by retired Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.
A Trailblazing Initiative
Upon implementation, Uttarakhand will be the first state to enforce the UCC post-independence, following Goa’s example from the Portuguese era. The UCC aims to standardize laws regarding marriage, divorce, property, and inheritance for all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations.
Process and Participation
The committee, including retired Justice Desai, retired Justice Pramod Kohli, social activist Manu Gaur, former Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh, and Vice-Chancellor Surekha Dangwal, engaged with nearly sixty thousand individuals and analyzed approximately 2.33 lakh written suggestions during its tenure.