Uttarakhand creates history, becomes first to pass UCC bill in Assembly

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Home to some of the majestic peaks and mountains in country, the state of Uttarakhand achieved yet another distinction by creating history on Wednesday. After independence, the country’s first Uniform Civil Code Bill Uttarakhand 2024 was passed in its Assembly. Post two-days of hectic discussions, debate and arguments, the bill was passed in the House on Wednesday evening. During the discussion, the opposition had recommended sending the bill to a select committee, the proposal of which was unanimously rejected by the ruling side.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that the bill would end discrimination and evil practices prevalent in society. He said, there would also be scope for amendment in this law. After passing, the bill would be sent to the President through the Governor, from where after getting the seal of approval, this law will come into force in the state. After completing all the legal processes and formalities, Uttarakhand will become the first state in the country to implement UCC.
The Bill provides for a single law for marriage, divorce, alimony and inheritance across all religious communities. Equal rights for men and women have been recommended. Scheduled Tribes have been kept out of the scope of this law.
During the discussion on the bill, Leader of the House Chief Minister Dhami said, the draft committee had started it with dialogue in the country’s first village Mana. Now calling on other states to make efforts in this direction, he said, just as Ganga is pleasant for everyone, similarly UCC will also be pleasant for the ‘Matrashakti’ and the society.

Resolution taken on 12 February 2022, bill passed on February 7, 2024

Chief Minister Dhami said, during the assembly elections on February 12, 2022, he had pledged before the public to bring a Uniform Civil Code law if he was voted to power again. Today, after almost two years, on February 7, this resolution had been fulfilled. The purpose for which masses elected him was that everyone would get the right to equality.

Opposition had demanded to send the proposal to select committee

The opposition under the leadership of Leader of Opposition in the House Yashpal Arya had termed this bill as a hasty step. The opposition had cited several flaws in it and demanded that it be sent to a select committee in the House. However, this demand of the opposition was rejected.

No tampering with customs and traditions of caste, religion and sect

The Bill covers only matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. The provisions made on these subjects, especially the marriage process, have not tampered with the traditions and customs of caste, religion or sect. Religious beliefs will not make any difference in the marital process. Religious customs will remain the same. It is not that the marriage will not be conducted by a Pandit or a Maulvi. There will be no impact on eating habits, worship, dressing etc.

Marriage registration made mandatory

Under the bill, it will be mandatory for every couple to register their marriage and divorce after March 26, 2010. Provision have been made for registration at Gram Panchayat, Nagar Panchayat, Municipality, Municipal Corporation, Metropolitan Municipality level. A maximum penalty of Rs 25000 would be levied for non-registration of the same. Those who do not register would also be deprived of the benefits of government facilities. Also, minimum age for marriage has been fixed at 21 years for a boy and 18 years for a girl.
Further, the bill grants that women could also make same reasons and rights as the basis for divorce as men. Practices like Halala and Iddat have been abolished in the bill. As per the bill provisions if someone changed religion without consent, then the other person would have the right to divorce that person and take maintenance allowance.
Also the bill proposes complete prohibition on marrying again if a husband and wife were alive. In case of divorce or domestic dispute between husband and wife, the custody of the child up to five years of age would remain with the mother.

Equal rights in property

Under the bill son and daughter would have equal rights in property and there would be no difference between legitimate and illegitimate children. Also illegitimate children would also be considered biological children of that couple while adopted children born through assisted reproductive technology through surrogacy will be considered as biological children.
The property rights of the child growing in the womb of a woman will be protected besides a person could give his property to any person through a will deed.

Mandatory registration of live-in relationship

Registration of live-in relationship has been made mandatory under the bill besides registration on web portal would be mandatory for every person living in a live-in house.
Live-in couples would be able to take house, hostel or PG on rent only after registration receipt besides children born in live-in will be considered legitimate children and will get all the rights of biological children.
The bill also proposes for mandatory registration of separation for those living in live-in relationship and incase the mandatory registration was not done, there is a provision of six months’ imprisonment or a fine of Rs 25,000 or both.

No Adoption law

No law has been made for adoption in the Uniform Civil Code.

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