Why Uttarakhand UCC Bill is in news?

Feb6,2024 #Bill #UCC #Uttarakhand

By Saurav Yadav

Published on: February 6, 2024 at 21:53 IST

Uniform Civil Code (UCC), It’s like having the same set of rules for everyone in the country, regardless of their religion or background. This means everyone follows the same laws for things like marriage, divorce, and inheritance.

Uttarakhand, a beautiful state in the Himalayas, is Planning to adopt its own version of the UCC. This means they want to have their own set of rules that apply to everyone in the state, taking into account their unique culture and traditions.

The implementation of UCC is not easy as it may book, it have its own set of challenges. If passed, Uttarakhand would become the second state in India to implement a Uniform Civil Code, which has been a contentious issue for decades.

The bill has sparked heated debate, with supporters commending it for promoting gender equality and religious neutrality, while critics raise concerns about potential infringement on minority rights and cultural diversity.

For making of the draft of UCC for Uttarakhand a special committee was set up by the government of Uttarakhand and it includes the following steps:

  • Committee Formation: A group of Individuals, led by a retired Supreme Court judge named Ranjana Prakash Desai, was put together to work on a specific task that to draft UCC.
  • Draft Report: This committee created a detailed document that contains their findings, suggestions, and recommendations. This report is quite lengthy, spanning over 740 pages and divided into four separate volumes.
  • Feedback Collection: The committee wanted to hear from the public about their thoughts and opinions on certain matters. They set up ways for people to share their feedback, including online platforms.
  • Written Feedback: They received a large number of responses from people who submitted their thoughts in writing through the internet. The total number of these written submissions was 2.33 lakh.
  • Public Forums: In addition to online feedback, the committee also organized more than 70 public meetings or forums. At these gatherings, they interacted with around 60,000 individuals to listen to their views and ideas.
  • Input and Insights: All the feedback collected from both written submissions and public meetings was carefully considered by the committee. These inputs helped them shape the contents of their draft report, incorporating various perspectives and ideas from the public.
  • Ban on Polygamy: This means that under the proposed law, a person would not be allowed to have more than one spouse at the same time.
  • Ban on Child Marriage: The law would prohibit the marriage of children, ensuring that individuals can only marry once they reach a legally acceptable age.
  • Equal Property Rights for Sons and Daughters: Currently, in many families, sons often inherit more property than daughters. This proposed law would ensure that both sons and daughters receive an equal share of inheritance from their parents.
  • Elimination of Distinction Between Legitimate and Illegitimate Children: In some cases, children born out of wedlock (illegitimate children) may have fewer rights than those born within a marriage (legitimate children). The proposed law seeks to remove this distinction, treating all children equally in terms of inheritance and other legal rights.
  • Equal Property Rights After Death: This means that regardless of gender or other factors, all heirs would have an equal right to inherit property from a deceased person.
  • Inclusion of Adopted and Biological Children: The law would treat adopted children the same as biological children in terms of inheritance and other legal matters, ensuring that adopted children are not discriminated against.
  • Registration of Live in marriages`: The Bill mandates that partners in a live-in relationship, regardless of their residency status in Uttarakhand, must submit a statement of their live-in relationship to the Registrar within the state. The procedure for submission is outlined, requiring partners to provide this statement to the Registrar. The Registrar will then conduct an inquiry to ensure that the relationship meets certain criteria, such as not involving a minor or someone who is already married or in another live-in relationship. Failure to submit the statement within a month of living together may result in imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to Rs 10,000, or both.
  • Simplified Divorce Process: Establishes a common ground and procedure for divorce for everyone, regardless of their faith.
  • Applicability of UCC: The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) aims to simplify the complex personal laws that currently vary among different religious communities in India. It proposes to establish a single set of laws applicable to everyone regarding matters like marriage, inheritance, and divorce. However, it’s important to note that the UCC won’t be applicable to tribal communities. This exception is made to respect the customary rights and traditions of these communities, as protected by the Constitution of India. The Bill says, “Nothing contained in this code shall apply to the 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.”

It’s important to note that the bill is still under debate and could undergo changes before being passed. Additionally, various communities hold diverse opinions on the potential impact of these features, highlighting the complexity of implementing a UCC.

The proposal for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Uttarakhand has sparked significant interest and debate, as it aims to create a unified legal framework for all citizens, irrespective of their religious or cultural background. The introduction of the UCC bill in the state’s legislative assembly by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami signifies a step towards achieving this goal, although opposition and debates within the assembly indicate the complexity of the issue.

The approval of the UCC draft by the Uttarakhand Cabinet marks progress towards implementing uniform civil laws in the state, addressing issues such as polygamy, child marriage, and equal property rights. The extensive process involved in drafting the bill, including public feedback and committee consultations, reflects a concerted effort to ensure inclusivity and fairness in the legal system.

As discussions continue and the bill progresses through the legislative process, the eventual adoption of a UCC in Uttarakhand could have far-reaching implications for the state’s social and legal landscape, promoting unity and equality among its diverse population.

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