On Wednesday, the Uttarakhand state Assembly swiftly passed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill, just a day after it was introduced by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. This landmark move makes Uttarakhand the first state in India to adopt a Uniform Civil Code, offering unified laws governing marriage, divorce, inheritance of property, and more.
The UCC Bill, soon to be enacted into law, was formulated based on the recommendations of a distinguished high-level committee. Chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana P Desai, the committee played a pivotal role in shaping the provisions of the Uniform Civil Code for Uttarakhand.
The enactment of the Uniform Civil Code in Uttarakhand precedes the 2024 Lok Sabha elections by several months. Reports suggest that the Union Government is contemplating the implementation of a similar law at the national level. States governed by the BJP, such as Gujarat and Assam, are already advancing legislation for the Uniform Civil Code within their jurisdictions.
The Uniform Civil Code holds a significant place in the BJP’s agenda, alongside key initiatives like the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
In the context of Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code (UCC), it has been decided that tribal communities will be exempt from its provisions. The UCC standardizes laws concerning marriage, divorce, and inheritance, replacing the earlier system governed by diverse religious laws. Notably, the UCC prohibits practices like bigamy and polygamy.
The Uttarakhand government has specified that individuals belonging to Scheduled Tribes (ST) will not be subject to the Uniform Civil Code. This exemption is outlined in Article 366, Clause 25, and Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, safeguarding the customary rights of ST members and certain groups under Part XXI of the Constitution.
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