Uttarakhand Assembly has approved the Uniform Civil Code Bill, Uttarakhand the first state in India to implement UCC

Uttarakhand Assembly has approved the Uniform Civil Code Bill, Uttarakhand the first state in India to implement UCC

After independence, Uttarakhand took a historic step by passing the first Uniform Civil Code Bill in the Uttarakhand 2024 Legislative Assembly. Following two days of debate, discussion, and contention, the bill was passed in the assembly on Wednesday evening. The opposition had proposed sending the bill to a committee for further review, but their proposal was also rejected.

Uttarakhand Assembly has approved the Uniform Civil Code Bill, Uttarakhand the first state in India to implement UCC
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami (photo source: 'X'/@pushkardhami)

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami supported this bill as a means to end discrimination and practices in society. After its passage, the bill will now be sent to the President through the Governor, and upon approval, it will become law in the state. This Uniform Civil Code draft was prepared under the leadership of retired Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai. Scheduled tribes have been excluded from the ambit of the bill.

What is UCC Bill ? 

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill is legislation aimed at ensuring gender equality and justice in society by establishing uniform laws regarding marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance applicable to all individuals, irrespective of their religion or community. It is an attempt to promote social change and harmony in Indian society.

Opposition Demand to Refer the Bill to a Committee:

In the assembly, opposition leader Yashpal Arya led the opposition in swiftly raising concerns about the bill and demanded that it be sent to a committee for further review. However, this demand from the opposition was rejected.

Speciality of the UCC Bill:

The legislation addresses matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption. However, it ensures no interference with caste, religion, or community traditions and customs in the provisions regarding the marriage process. Religious beliefs can be respected in matrimonial proceedings, with marriages conducted by priests or clerics, and there will be no impact on food habits, worship, or attire. Registration of marriage will remain within the ambit of the law, and the legal scope of divorce, inheritance, and adoption, as well as adoption, will be equal for everyone.

Provisions related to marriage and divorce in the UCC Bill:

1. It will be mandatory for couples to register their marriage and divorce, for which provisions for registration are available at the level of gram panchayats, nagar panchayats, municipalities, municipal corporations, and metropolitan municipalities.

2. Failure to register will incur a maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000, and the benefits of government facilities will also not be available.

3. The minimum age for marriage is set at 21 for men and 18 for women.

4. Women also have the right to divorce based on the same grounds and rights as men.

5. During divorce or domestic disputes, custody of children under five years of age will be with the mother, which is an important safeguard provision.

6. Practices such as polygamy, halala, and iddat (a mandatory waiting period for Muslim women after the dissolution of marriage) have been abolished.

7. In cases of religious conversion, the right to divorce and receive alimony from the person who converts to another religion without consent will be granted.

Provisions for live-in relationships:

1. It will be mandatory to register the live-in relationship, for which each individual will have to register on the web portal.

2. Each individual in a live-in relationship will be able to avail accommodation on rent, hostel, or PG facilities through the means of a joint registration receipt.

3. Children born in a live-in relationship will be considered legitimate, and they will have all the rights of biological children.

4. Failure to register will result in either six months of imprisonment, a fine of 25 thousand rupees, or both.

Provisions related to property:

1. Sons and daughters will have equal rights in the property, where there will be no distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children.

2. Illegitimate children will also be considered the biological children of the couple, and children born through surrogacy using assisted reproductive technology will be considered biological offspring.

3. The property rights of the child in the womb of a woman will also be protected.

4. Any individual will have the full right to distribute their property through a will, which will bring about a new and social perspective.

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