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Uttarakhand News: Why Are Muslims Wary of Uniform Civil Code? Understanding the Implications of UCC Adoption on Personal Laws

Exploring the Impact of UCC Implementation in Uttarakhand on Personal Laws

Uttarakhand’s state administration, spearheaded by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, is preparing to introduce the Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand 2024 Bill (UCC) in the legislative assembly. This proposal, slated for discussion in a special session, raises questions among Muslims about the potential ramifications of adopting the UCC on their personal laws.

The UCC Proposal: What You Need to Know

The UCC, a cornerstone of the current government’s agenda, aims to establish a uniform set of civil laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, and succession. If passed, this legislation will supersede existing diverse personal laws that vary based on religious affiliations, ensuring equality and consistency for all citizens.

Drafting Process and Public Input

The formulation of the UCC involved meticulous planning and extensive public engagement. A panel chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai spearheaded the drafting process, producing a comprehensive report spanning over 740 pages across four volumes. The panel, comprising legal experts and social activists, collected feedback through various channels, including written submissions, online platforms, public forums, and outreach programs engaging over 60,000 individuals. According to Chief Minister Dhami, the UCC Bill is a product of extensive public dialogue, deliberation, and suggestions, reflecting the diverse needs and perspectives of the populace.

Concerns Among Muslims Regarding UCC Reforms

Muslims express apprehension towards the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) primarily due to its proposed reforms in marriage, including the prohibition of polygamy, fixed marriageable age, and mandatory registration. The draft eliminates practices like ‘Halala’ and ‘Iddat’ in Islam, while also banning polygamy and child marriage, both permitted in Islamic practices. The UCC further grants equal property and inheritance rights for men and women, challenging existing norms in Islamic law. This has sparked resentment within the Muslim community, with leaders arguing that the UCC infringes on Quranic and Shariat principles, and they vow to resist it, citing potential violations of their religious freedom under Article 25 of the constitution.

Anticipated Impact on Personal Laws

Standardisation for Hindu Community

For Hindus, the enactment of the UCC will entail the dissolution of existing laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act (1955) and the Hindu Succession Act (1956), leading to standardized norms governing marriage, divorce, inheritance, and succession. Notably, the UCC will bring about significant changes in succession and inheritance laws, altering the criteria for determining legal heirs and property acquisition.

Reforms for Muslim Community

The implementation of the UCC is expected to reform various practices within the Muslim community. Practices such as contract marriage, polygamy, and the minimum marriage age under Shariat law may undergo significant changes. Additionally, adoption laws, divorce procedures, and inheritance rights within the Muslim community are likely to be redefined under the UCC framework.

Uniformity for Christian and Sikh Communities

Christian and Sikh marriages, currently governed by separate laws, will witness standardized procedures and rules concerning divorce, succession, and inheritance with the adoption of the UCC. This move aims to promote consistency and clarity in legal matters, ensuring equality and fairness for these communities.

Reforms for Parsi Community

The UCC is poised to address existing disparities in adoption and inheritance rights within the Parsi community. Potential reforms include recognizing the rights of adoptive daughters and ensuring equal inheritance rights for children born to Parsi women who marry outside their community. These measures seek to uphold principles of equality and justice within the Parsi community.

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