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Updated February 7th, 2024 at 18:57 IST

HISTORIC: Uttarakhand Leads The Way, Passes Uniform Civil Code Bill | 10 Points

After passing the UCC Bill in the Assembly, Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to implement the Uniform Civil Code.

Reported by: Digital Desk
UCC Bill Passed in Uttarakhand Assembly
UCC Bill Passed in Uttarakhand Assembly | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: The Uttarakhand Assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill on Wednesday, potentially setting a precedent for other BJP-run states to follow suit with similar legislation. Once it receives the governor's consent, Uttarakhand will become the first state post-independence to establish a uniform law governing marriage, divorce, land, property, and inheritance, applicable to all citizens regardless of their religion. With this, Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to implement the Uniform Civil Code. 

Later speaking to reporters, CM Pushkar Singh Dhami said that the Uniform Civil Code will give the right to equality to everyone without any discrimination on matters like marriage, maintenance, inheritance and divorce. “Today is a special day for Uttarakhand... The bill which had been long awaited, for which there had been a demand for a long time has been passed in the Uttarakhand Assembly”, said Dhami thanking the people of his state. 

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"The UCC will mainly remove the discrimination against women... The UCC will assist in eradicating the injustice and wrong deeds against women. It is time to stop the atrocities against the 'Matrishakti'... The discrimination against our sisters and daughters has to stop... Half of the population should now get equal rights...", said the Chief Minister.  

Earlier while speaking in the state Assembly, he had lambasted the Opposition parties, saying, "A long passage of time passed. We celebrated Amrit Mahotsav. But the truth was not accepted even after the Shah Bano case of 1985... The truth for which Shayara Bano struggled for decades... The truth that could have been achieved earlier but was not done for reasons unknown... Why the attempts to bring the Uniform Civil Code were not made even when there were governments with full majorities? Why the women were not given equal rights? Why the vote bank was kept above the country? Why the differences between the citizens were allowed to continue? Why a valley was dug between communities?..."

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Uttarakhand UCC Bill: Cheatsheet To This Big Story

  1. Uttarakhand's small tribal community is exempted from the proposed law, which also mandates registration of live-in relationships. 
  2. Children born of live-in relationships will be considered legitimate and deserted women will be entitled to maintenance from their partners.
  3. Coming just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the 192-page Uniform Civil Code, Uttarakhand, 2024 bill ticks off an important item on the BJP’s ideological agenda — a common law on marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance for all citizens, irrespective of their religion.
  4. Without naming them, the bill effectively bans polygamy and 'halala' practised among a section of Muslims. Marriages, though, can be solemnised through separate rituals, like saptapadi, nikah and anand karaj, followed by different communities.
  5. The bill is likely to be studied and possibly implemented by BJP governments in states like Gujarat and Assam. Only Goa has a common civil law, in operation since the Portuguese rule.
  6. The bill makes it clear that a marriage between a man and a woman can be solemnised if “neither party has a spouse living at the time of marriage.” In effect, this bans polygamy and polyandry.
  7. It also spells out the right to remarry after divorce or the nullification of marriage, provided there is no appeal pending.
  8. And in an apparent reference to ‘halala’, it specifies that this includes “the right to marry the divorced spouse without any condition, such as marrying a third person before such remarriage”.
  9. The bill also deals with the issue of marrying when the spouses are related in some manner.
  10. It gives the nod to marriages when the couple are “not within the degrees of prohibited relationship”. But it makes an exemption to “custom or usage” that permits such marriages, provided they are not against “public policy and morality”.

For the unversed, the BJP had promised a UCC in the state in the run-up to the 2022 assembly polls, which saw the party storm to power with a landslide victory for the second consecutive term.

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Published February 7th, 2024 at 18:20 IST

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