The bill will now be sent to Uttarakhand governor Lt, Gen. Gurmit Singh and President Murmu for their assent, after which it will become law
Dehradun: The Uttarakhand Assembly passed the landmark Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill by voice vote on Wednesday, amidst a demand by the Opposition to recommend it to a select committee of the House first. After the passage of the bill, chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami claimed that the BJP has fulfilled the commitment it had made to the people of the state.
The bill will now be sent to Uttarakhand governor Lt, Gen. Gurmit Singh and President Droupadi Murmu for their assent, after which it will become law. Once the bill gets the assent, Uttarakhand will become the first state after Independence to get a common law on marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance for all citizens, irrespective of their religion.
During discussion in the House, Mr Dhami said, "The state has taken a big leap in the direction of leading the country to a new stride of social and legal justice."
According to Mr Dhami, the uniform civil code not only guarantees constitutional rights to the people of Uttarakhand but also ensures their implementation. He said: "The UCC will end ill practices in the communities... It's a historical law rising above castes, religions, sects and all other barriers to provide equal rights without any discrimination."
The Uttarakhand chief minister said: "This is the time of change and progress, as stated by Prime Minister Naremdra Modi. The UCC will safeguard mothers, sisters and daughters… The new law guarantees equality to about 50 per cent of the population of India, starting from Uttarakhand."
Earlier, the Opposition parties, including the Congress and BSP legislators, agreed to the bill but opposed certain clauses regulating live-in relations and property inheritance, alleging these provisions violate fundamental rights of the citizens.
Leader of the Opposition in the House Yashpal Arya, his Congress colleague and MLA Pritam Singh and BSP MLA Haji Shahjad, along with other speakers from the Opposition benches, demanded the draft legislation be referred to a select committee on the ground that they did not get enough time to study its provisions.
Assembly Speaker Ritu Khanduri refused to accept the Opposition's demand and the bill was put to vote, leading to its passage with a huge majority.
The bill effectively bans polygamy and 'halala' practised among a section of Muslims. The bill titled "The Uniform Civil Code 2024" says that it "governs and regulates the laws relating to marriage and divorce, succession, live-in relations and the matters related thereto." The bill categorically states that a marriage may be solemnised between a man and a woman only if "neither party has a spouse living at the time of marriage."
The more than 220-page UCC draft was prepared by a five-member committee of experts constituted by the Dhami government in May 2022. The committee submitted the report on February 2, with more than 2.72 lakh suggestions coming from the public directly and nearly 43 public contact and interaction meetings held in different parts of the state. Nearly 10,000 families, constituting one tenth of the state's population, took part in the public interactions with the committee members in nearly 19 months