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Uttarakhand To Become The First State To Adopt The Uniform Civil Code (UCC)


Uttarakhand is on the brink of making history as it prepares to become the first state in India to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). In a move towards legal uniformity and gender equality, the state government is set to convene a special session post-Diwali to clear the UCC Bill, marking a significant departure from the diverse personal laws that currently govern citizens based on their religious affiliations.

The Emphasis on Gender Equality

  • The impending UCC implementation in Uttarakhand places a notable emphasis on gender equality and equal rights for daughters in ancestral properties.
  • The move is part of a broader effort to create a legal framework that ensures fair treatment and opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their gender, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.

Key Recommendations and Omissions

  • A five-member panel, led by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai, completed a draft report in June, which is expected to be handed over to the state government in the coming days.
  • The report is likely to include strong recommendations on issues such as live-ins, a ban on polygamy and polyandry, and a push for raising the marriage age of girls. However, notably absent is a suggestion to raise the marriageable age of women from 18 to 21.

Article 44 of the Constitution and Directive Principles

  • The Uniform Civil Code falls under Article 44 of the Constitution, advocating for a uniform civil code across the country’s territory.
  • However, as Article 37 clarifies, directive principles are guiding principles for government policies and are not enforceable by courts.
  • The UCC proposal is a significant step toward legal modernization and aligns with the constitutional directive to work towards a uniform civil code for all citizens.

Challenges and Resistance

  • While the UCC initiative has gained momentum, it has encountered resistance from orthodox groups within various communities, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and other minority groups.
  • These groups argue that their customs, often rooted in traditions dating back to British rule, should remain untouched.

National Outlook

  • Uttarakhand’s bold move towards implementing the Uniform Civil Code is expected to set a precedent for other states.
  • States like Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam are also gearing up to pass the code, reflecting a broader national trend toward legal reform.
  • As of now, Goa stands as the only state with a civil code, introduced during Portuguese rule.

Kerala’s Stance

  • It’s worth noting that the Kerala Legislative Assembly, in a historic move, passed a resolution unanimously against the UCC in August.
  • Terming it “unilateral and hasty,” Kerala became the first state in the country to formally oppose the UCC, showcasing the diversity of opinions and perspectives on this crucial legal reform.

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