Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tables Uniform Civil Code Bill Amidst Controversy
Historic Moment or Poll Gimmick?
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami made headlines as he tabled the State’s Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill in the Assembly, describing it as a “historic moment.” However, the move was met with criticism from the Opposition, labeling it as a “poll gimmick.”
First State to Enact Uniform Laws
If passed, Uttarakhand will become the first state in independent India to enact a uniform law for all communities regarding marriage, divorce, succession, and live-in relationships. Notably, Scheduled Tribes, constituting 2.9% of the population, are excluded from the ambit of this Bill.
Dramatic Assembly Proceedings
The Assembly witnessed dramatic scenes as Chief Minister Dhami entered with the Constitution of India in hand, accompanied by Finance Minister Prem Chandra Agarwal holding a copy of the UCC Bill. BJP legislators started chanting slogans, adding to the fervor of the moment.
Key Provisions of the UCC Bill
Under the UCC, marriages will only take place between one man and one woman, with specific provisions for the protection of children’s rights. The age of marriage is set at 21 years for boys and 18 years for girls. The Bill also addresses divorce, ensuring equal rights for men and women and aiming to eradicate practices such as ‘Halala’ and ‘Iddat’.
Leader of Opposition Yashpal Arya criticized the urgency shown by the BJP government, labeling the move as a “poll gimmick.” He highlighted the lack of time given to the Opposition to review the lengthy document, questioning the government’s intentions.
Stringent Measures and Penalties
The Bill mandates the registration of marriages, divorces, and live-in relationships, with strict penalties for non-compliance. Couples failing to register their live-in status or providing false information can face imprisonment or fines.
Equal Rights and Inheritance
Children born out of live-in relationships will be considered legitimate, with equal rights in property inheritance for sons and daughters. Additionally, spouses changing religions without consent may lead to divorce, ensuring protection and rights for both parties.
The introduction of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in Uttarakhand has sparked intense debate, with proponents hailing it as a landmark move towards uniformity in civil laws, while critics question its timing and intentions. As the legislative process unfolds, the fate of the Bill remains uncertain amidst political tensions and differing perspectives.