Uttarakhand Cabinet Endorses Uniform Civil Code Draft, Paving Way for Legislative Introduction

Feb 6, 2024 - 06:06
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Uttarakhand Cabinet Endorses Uniform Civil Code Draft, Paving Way for Legislative Introduction

The Uttarakhand Cabinet's endorsement of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) draft has paved the way for the government to introduce the UCC Bill during the ongoing special four-day session of the Assembly.

Upon implementation, Uttarakhand will become the first state after Independence to adopt the UCC, a system already operational in Goa since Portuguese rule.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will lead the presentation of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in the state legislative assembly on Tuesday, during the ongoing special session that commenced on Monday. The final draft of the UCC, advocating uniform civil laws for all communities in the state, received approval from the Uttarakhand Cabinet on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Law and Justice, Arjun Ram Meghwal, clarified on Monday that the Uniform Civil Code is currently in consultation and being reviewed by the Law Commission of India.

“This is not just a matter for the Centre; the framers of the Constitution discussed this even during its making. Right now, this matter is under consideration with the Law Commission of India and is in the consultation process. The states can modify or improve it, and the government of Goa has already worked on UCC. The Uttarakhand government has approved this in the cabinet, and as soon as we receive a report from the Law Commission, we will inform you,” said Meghwal.

On Sunday, the state Cabinet endorsed the UCC draft during a meeting at the Chief Minister's residence. Following an extensive consultation process, a committee established to prepare the UCC draft submitted its report to the CM.

“In the cabinet meeting on Sunday, a proposal to bring a bill on the Uniform Civil Code in the upcoming Assembly session was unanimously passed. We will table it in the Assembly. We will move forward in the direction to make it an Act,” Chief Minister Dhami told ANI.

The 800-page report from the five-member expert committee, led by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, was submitted to Chief Minister Dhami. The recommendations in the report include exempting tribal communities, prioritising women’s equality, prohibiting practices like polygamy, and establishing a uniform marriage age across religions.

The UCC is designed to create a legal framework for uniform marriage, divorce, land, property, and inheritance laws applicable to all citizens, irrespective of their religion.

The successful approval of the UCC Bill would fulfill a significant promise made by the BJP to the people of the state in the lead-up to the 2022 Assembly polls. In March 2022, the Dhami government took the initiative to form a committee for drafting the UCC.

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