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Uttarakhand assembly passes Uniform Civil Code Bill during special session

The Uniform Civil Code which proposes similar or uniform laws for all communities, was tabled yesterday during the special session by the Chief Minister.

Uttarakhand assembly passes Uniform Civil Code Bill during special session

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami during a special session of the State Assembly in Dehradun on Feb 7. (PTI)

DEHRADUN:The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill was passed today in the Uttarakhand assembly with a comfortable majority during a special session.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, during the debate on the Uniform Civil Code, said on Wednesday that the state legislature is going to create history with the passing of the Uniform Civil Code and that every citizen of the state is filled with pride.

The Uniform Civil Code which proposes similar or uniform laws for all communities, was tabled yesterday during the special session by the Chief Minister.

“Today, I want to congratulate all the people of the state on this occasion, because today the legislature of our Uttarakhand is going to create history. Being witnesses to this historical moment today, not only this House but every citizen of Uttarakhand is filled with pride. It is a feeling. Our government had promised to bring a uniform civil code to Uttarakhand to realise the mantra of ‘One India, a Better India’,” CM Dhami said.

The Chief Minister thanked all assembly members, including those of opposition, for sharing their thoughts on the UCC.

“The godlike people of the state have given us the opportunity to fulfil this objective; he gave his blessings and gave us a chance to form the government again. Immediately after the formation of the government, in the first cabinet meeting itself, an expert committee was constituted to create a uniform civil code. On May 27, 2022, a five-member committee was constituted under the leadership of retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai. This Jan Samvad Yatra, which started in the border village of Mana, ended in New Delhi after about nine months by conducting 43 Jan Samvad programmes,” CM Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

“More than 2.32 lakh suggestions were received. About 10 percent of the families in the state gave their suggestions for the formulation of a law. It is a direct proof of the awareness of the godlike people of our state,” he added.

The Chief Minister further asserted that the ‘Ganga’ of equal rights emerging from the House will nurture the lives of the citizens.

“Just as the Mother Ganga emerging from this Devbhoomi irrigates all the living beings living on its banks without any discrimination, this Ganga of equal rights emerging from this House will nurture the lives of all our citizens. We will ensure constitutional rights,” he said.

CM Dhami stated that the UCC is not an ordinary bill but an ‘outstanding’ one.

“It is a dream that is going to become reality and will start in Uttarakhand,” the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, taking potshots at the previous state and central governments, CM Dhami said, “A long period 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 were the attempts to bring about the Uniform Civil Code not made even when there were governments with full majorities? Why the women not given equal rights? Why was the vote bank kept above the country? Why the differences between the citizens allowed to continue? Why was a valley dug between communities?”

The CM added that the Uniform Civil Code Bill can be amended in the future if there is a need to include specific clause.

“We can amend UCC (act) in future if there is need to include specific clause,” CM Dhami said.

The bill contains the laws relating to marriage, divorce, succession, live-in relationships, and related matters. Among the many proposals, the Uniform Civil Code Bill makes it compulsory for live-in relationships to be registered under the law.

Once the proposed UCC Bill is in place, “live-in relationships” will have to get registered under the law within 1 month from the “date of entering into the relationship.” To live in a live-in relationship, adults will have to obtain consent from their parents.

The bill also imposes a complete ban on child marriage and introduces a uniform process for divorce. The Code provides equal rights to women of all religions in their ancestral property.

As per the UCC Bill, the age for marriage will be 18 for women and 21 for men in all communities. Marriage registration is mandatory in all religions and marriages without registration will be invalid.

No divorce petition will be allowed to be filed after one year of marriage. Highlighting the ceremonies for marriage, the proposed UCC Bill noted that marriage may be solemnised or contracted between a man and a woman in accordance with religious beliefs, practices, customary rites and ceremonies including but not limited to “Saptapadt”, “Ashirvad”, “Nikah”, “Holy Union”, “Anand Karaj” under the Anand Marriage Act 1909 as well as under, but not limited to, The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and Arya Marriage Validation Act, 1937.

However, nothing contained in the proposed UCC Bill will be applied to the members of any Scheduled Tribes within the meaning of clause (25) of Article 366 read with Article 342 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

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