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Uttarakhand cabinet gives nod to form panel to implement Uniform Civil Code: Dhami

By, Dehradun
Mar 25, 2022 02:12 AM IST

The panel of experts will he headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or high court, said Dhami after the cabinet meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government.

In its first meeting a day after being sworn in, the Uttarakhand cabinet on Thursday decided to form a committee of experts on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state, chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. (PTI)
Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. (PTI)

The panel of experts will he headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or high court, said Dhami after the cabinet meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government.

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“The cabinet unanimously approved the setting up of a high-powered committee of experts at the earliest on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code,” he told reporters, adding that the panel will “prepare a draft in this regard”.

It will bring equality on applicability of the same law for everyone, the chief minister said. “Article 44 of the Constitution of India empowers the state governments to implement UCC.”

Article 44, which is part of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Indian Constitution, says: “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

The UCC provides for the formulation of one law applicable to all religions in matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption.

On February 12, the last day of campaigning for the February 14 assembly elections in the state, Dhami announced that if re-elected to power, the BJP government will form a high-powered committee consisting of legal experts, senior citizens and intellectuals to draft UCC.

On Thursday, Dhami fulfilled the pre-poll promise in the very first meeting of the state cabinet. “We didn’t announce this for any electoral advantage,” he said, adding that he expects other state governments to also start the process of implementing UCC.

The opposition Congress, however, said instead of taking up issues such as unemployment, checking inflation and hill migration, the BJP government has taken up UCC first. “It is really sad and it shows what their priorities are. They polarised the elections and now they have started the new innings with this issue,” said state Congress vice-president Suryakant Dhasmana.

Constitutional experts said states can have their own code along with those implemented by the Centre.

“There is a directive principle in the Constitution that endeavours that the state should bring UCC for all citizens within the territory of country. Besides, issues related to marriage, divorce and property (part of concurrent list under Seventh Schedule in Article 246) are also the domain of states,” said Kartikeya Hari Gupta, senior advocate in the Uttarakhand high court.

Political analyst SMA Kazmi said implementing UCC in Uttarakhand that has 13% Muslims will have practical problems. “What will happen if someone from the Muslim community from the state goes to another state for a job or vice-versa? Will it still be applicable to them? How the Muslim personal law or family law code will be brought under UCC remains ambiguous,” Kazmi said. “The same Constitution also allows customary laws of a place or tribal laws of a place to be respected and followed.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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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