Uttarakhand: UCC panel seeks four-month extension of tenure to complete draft - Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand: UCC panel seeks four-month extension of tenure to complete draft

Apr 29, 2023 04:13 PM IST

According to the committee, they received approximately 2.25 lakh suggestions (both offline and online) on various subjects, including marriage, divorce, property rights, succession/inheritance, adoption, maintenance, custody and guardianship

The tenure of the committee of experts preparing the draft of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for Uttarakhand is likely to be extended by four months, a senior official said.

Retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai is heading the Uttarakhand panel for Uniform Civil Code (File Photo)
Retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai is heading the Uttarakhand panel for Uniform Civil Code (File Photo)

The Uttarakhand government on May 27, 2022, constituted a five-member draft committee headed by Ranjana Desai for preparing a draft for the implementation of UCC in Uttarakhand.

The other members of the committee include retired Delhi high court judge Pramod Kohli, social activist Manu Gaur, retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shatrughan Singh, and Doon University vice-chancellor Surekha Dangwal.

In December last year, the tenure of the panel was extended till May 27, 2023.

Also Read: PIL on Uniform Civil Code not maintainable: Delhi high court

“We have written to the state government, seeking a four-month extension to complete the draft work for UCC,” said a panel member on the condition of anonymity.

The above-mentioned members said they have completed 75% of the draft work for UCC, and their target is to submit it to the government by June end.

According to the committee, they received approximately 2.25 lakh suggestions (both offline and online) on various subjects, including marriage, divorce, property rights, succession/inheritance, adoption, maintenance, custody and guardianship.

Since its formation, the committee has held 30 meetings across the state, including border areas, taking suggestions from the people.

On New Year’s Eve, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said his government would implement a Uniform Civil Code in the state in 2023.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), during the 2022 state assembly polls, promised implementation of the UCC if they are voted to power.

CM Dhami on February 12 last year, during election campaigning, announced that the implementation of UCC will be the first decision the BJP government would take after coming to power. He stated that Article 44 of the Constitution empowers the state governments to implement UCC. “This decision has been taken so that there is the same law for everyone here,” Dahmi had said.

On March 24 this year, in the first cabinet meeting after forming its government in Uttarakhand, the BJP passed a proposal to implement UCC in the state and declared that a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court or high court judge will be formed for preparing its draft.

Also Read: BJP trying to disturb communal harmony: Congress on Dhami’s ‘land jihad’ comment

UCC essentially refers to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and succession for all citizens of the country.

Article 44, which is one of the directive principles of state policy, also advocates a UCC, however, governments since Independence have allowed respective religion-based civil codes.

According to Article 44, “the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

In January this year, the Supreme Court noted that state governments have the power to examine the feasibility of implementing a UCC, underscoring that the Constitution permits not only the Union government but also the states to legislate on subjects such as marriage, divorce and adoption.

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