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Uttarakhand Becomes First Indian State To Pass Uniform Civil Code Bill

Mumbai: Uttarakhand Assembly on Wednesday passed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill, which seeks to bring uniformity in laws governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance, among other things, across religions.

With this, Uttarakhand has become the first state since Independence to institute a UCC. The committee that drafted the Bill claims to have held 72 meetings and interacted with around 10,000 people.

Addressing a media briefing following the assembly session, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said today is a special day for the hill state because a long-awaited measure has finally been enacted by the assembly.

“This is a statute that grants equal rights to all. Dhami stated that the law is intended to foster togetherness and is not directed at any specific individual.

Earlier, during a discussion of the UCC in the assembly, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami stated that his government implemented the UCC in accordance with constitutional provisions.

“After independence, the creators of the Constitution granted the states the ability under Article 44 to establish the UCC at the proper moment… People have concerns about this. “We created the draft in accordance with the constitutional system,” he explained.

“Unity in diversity is a characteristic of India. The measure speaks of togetherness… our constitution is secular. The Constitution addresses our society’s weaknesses and strengthens its social structure… “We are going to pass legislation that elevates everyone above religion, sect, and community and unites everyone,” Dhami stated.

What is the UCC Bill?

The UCC bill offers a uniform set of laws governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance for all religions. Among the various ideas, the Uniform Civil Code Bill requires live-in relationships to be registered with the law. Once the proposed UCC Bill is passed, “live-in relationships” must be registered under the law within one month of the “date of entering into the relationship”.

Furthermore, people must acquire parental authorization before entering into a live-in relationship. The bill also prohibits underage marriage and establishes a consistent divorce process. It gives women of all religions similar rights over their ancestral property.

The UCC Bill sets the marriage age at 18 for women and 21 for men in all communities. Marriage registration is required in all religions, and marriages without registration are invalid. A divorce petition cannot be filed after one year of marriage.

Highlighting the ceremonies for marriage, the proposed UCC Bill noted that marriage may be solemnized 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,” and “Anand Karaj” under the Anand Marriage Act 1909, as well as under, but not limited to, The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the 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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