Uniform Civil Code bill passed in Uttarakhand assembly | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Uniform Civil Code bill passed in Uttarakhand assembly

Feb 07, 2024 07:01 PM IST

The CM said will the UCC will give equal rights to all without discriminating in matters like marriage, maintenance, adoption, succession and divorce

Dehradun: The Uttarakhand assembly on Wednesday passed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill 2024 by voice vote after a debate spanning two days with chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, terming it as a “historic moment” in the country.

CM Dhani addressing the House before the UCC bill was passed in the state assembly in Dehradun on Wednesday evening (Photo/Uttarakhand govt information department)
CM Dhani addressing the House before the UCC bill was passed in the state assembly in Dehradun on Wednesday evening (Photo/Uttarakhand govt information department)

The Congress took a nuanced stand on the Bill saying it was not opposed to it but wanted it to be sent to the select committee first for elaborate discussion. Yashpal Arya, leader of Opposition, said there are many issues and ambiguities, which needs to be discussed first in the select committee of the assembly. Arya and BSP MLA Shahzad moved amendments to the bill, which were not considered by the House.

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Dhami in his address before the passage of the Bill, said a very meaningful discussion was held on UCC on Tuesday and Wednesday by both ruling and Opposition MLAs. “Our state got the opportunity despite there being many big states in the country. This is a historic opportunity. This is not a normal law, but a law that will provide a common legal framework for all. I hope other states will also table the UCC bill. I also want to thank the people of the state on this occasion. Every person in the state must be feeling proud today”

Dhami said that in the run-up to the 2022 state assembly polls, he had promised that if the BJP came to power, “we will implement UCC in the state. After we came to power, we first constituted a committee for UCC. This is a sacred land of gods, of Ganga and Yamuna, this is the land of soldiers who are serving across the country. So, for everyone living in Uttarakhand irrespective of religion and caste, we decided to bring UCC. And people blessed us. For the first time, BJP won assembly polls for the second consecutive term”.

“This Bill will show a way for all, like Ganga which flows from the state, blesses people across India. Similarly, the Ganga of UCC will benefit all people. This bill will strengthen our age-old slogan of ‘unity in diversity. King Baghirathi had brought Ganga water on this earth..”, he said

Dhami elaborated on the journey of UCC, saying 43 public consultations were held and nearly 10 % of the households in the state participated in the interactions. He said 2.32 lakh people gave suggestions to the UCC committee. “I want to thank all the members of the UCC Committee today,” he said

Dhami said UCC treats all people as equals. “This is just the start. We will be working on various fronts…why this Bill was not brought up by previous regimes? But now we have started work in this space that was left vacant for such a long time….due to appeasement politics.. ….but now the mistakes of past are being undone… ”, he said.

Also Read: UCC bill: Understanding the provisions and legal context

Dhami said this Bill will bring many changes in the lives of people. “Today the time has come for us to rise above vote bank politics and build a society in which there is equality at every level. The same equality, the ideal of which is the Supreme Being, Lord Shri Ram. Our Devbhoomi teaches us to respect everyone equally…We are talking about the truth which has been suppressed till now despite it being in Article 44 of the Constitution. This is the same truth, which was not accepted even after the Shah Bano case of 1985”.

Dhami said in future, if required, changes can be introduced to the UCC Bill

The CM said will the UCC will give equal rights to all without discriminating in matters like marriage, maintenance, adoption, succession and divorce. “In the words of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, this is the time, this is the right time. Now the time has come to stop atrocities against women. Before independence, the governance system in our country had only one policy and that policy was divide and rule. Following the same policy, equal laws for all were not allowed. Why distinction between citizens was maintained? Why was the gap of inequality dug between communities? But now this gap will be filled. This work will start from today, right now, right here.”

Also Read: Uttarakhand 1st state to bring uniform code bill

Dhami said, “After all, why did the people who ruled for more than 60 years after Independence, didn’t even think of implementing UCC? Forgetting national policy, they continued to pursue appeasement politics only.”

He added, “The hours of waiting for our mothers and sisters are now coming to an end. They have sacrificed so much for this…some women were forced to marry at young age..that will stop now.”

He added that Scheduled Tribes have been kept out of the ambit of the UCC, so that those tribes and their customs can be protected

The Bill has provisions for equal rights for women in inheritance in ancestral properties, equal rights to adopt, divorce and a ban on polygamy, mandatory registration/self-declaration for live-in relationships, mandatory registration of marriage of marriages and divorce, (common marriageable age, 18 for women and 21 for men. The bill has also provided an exemption to notified Scheduled Tribes from its ambit. Uttarakhand has 2.89% Scheduled Tribe population.

On Friday, the five-member UCC committee submitted its draft report to Dhami at his residence. The report was handed over to the chief minister by Ranjana Desai, a retired judge of the Supreme Court and chairperson of the Committee.

Other members of the committee who were present included Pramod Kohli, retired judge, Manu Gaur, social activist, Shatrughan Singh, retired IAS officer and Surekha Dangwal, vice-chancellor, Doon University.

The UCC refers to a common set of laws that will subsume customary laws across faiths and tribes and govern issues such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and maintenance. In the Constitution, it is a part of the non-justiciable directive principles of state policy. Uttarakhand has 13.9 % Muslim population, according to the 2011 census, mostly in the Terai area.

The House also passed a bill related to providing reservation to statehood agitators in government jobs. The House was adjourned sine die after both bills were passed

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    He is principal correspondent based at Bhopal. He covers environment and wildlife, state administration, BJP and other saffron organisations. He has special interest in social issues based stories.

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