The Uttarakhand Assembly made a landmark decision on Wednesday by passing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill during a special four-day session. This significant move comes nearly two years after the formation of a committee tasked with drafting the Bill. With its passage, Uttarakhand will emerge as the first state post-Independence to implement a UCC, following in the footsteps of Goa, which has had one since its days as a Portuguese territory.
Addressing Inequality: Chief Minister’s Perspective
Chief Minister Puskar Singh Dhami expressed the essence of the bill, emphasizing that the UCC will ensure equality for all individuals without discrimination in crucial matters such as marriage, maintenance, inheritance, and divorce. He highlighted the UCC’s pivotal role in eliminating discrimination against women, stressing the need to halt injustices and wrongdoings against them. Dhami emphasized the importance of granting equal rights to women, underscoring the significance of ending discrimination against sisters and daughters.
Understanding the UCC
The Uniform Civil Code aims to establish uniformity in laws governing various aspects of personal life, including marriage, divorce, and inheritance, across different religions.
Key provisions of the UCC bill include
- Prohibition of Polygamy and Polyandry: Section 4(i) of the bill explicitly prohibits polygamy and polyandry, stating that neither party can have a living spouse at the time of marriage.
- Age of Marriage: Sub-section (iii) of Section 4 sets the age of marriage at 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys, ensuring uniformity and legal clarity.
- Exceptions to Marriage: The bill disallows marriage between individuals with certain specified relationships, such as those with common ancestors or relationships between a man and his widowed daughter-in-law.