In a groundbreaking move, Uttarakhand is set to become the second state in India, after Goa, to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), marking a significant shift in personal laws related to marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance.
The UCC, as recommended by a five-member committee in an exhaustive 800-page report presented to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, is poised to bring uniformity across all religious communities in the state.
Key Highlights of the UCC Implementation in Uttarakhand:
- Abolishing Discriminatory Practices: The UCC aims to eradicate practices such as Halala, Iddat, and Triple Talaq under Muslim personal law, making them punishable offenses. Additionally, polygamy will be banned, heralding a new era of gender equality and empowerment.
- Uniform Age for Marriage: The committee’s report suggests establishing a uniform age for marriage across religions, ensuring consistency and fairness in matrimonial matters.
- Exemption for Tribal Communities: To address diversity, the UCC exempts tribal communities, focusing on empowering women and establishing a uniform marriage age irrespective of religious affiliations.
- Live-in Relationships Regulation: The UCC is expected to extend its influence to regulate live-in relationships, reflecting the evolving societal norms.
Impact of UCC on Personal Laws Across Communities:
- Existing laws like the Hindu Marriage Act (1955) and the Hindu Succession Act (1956) will be incorporated into the UCC, bringing standardization in marriage, divorce, inheritance, and succession laws.
- Succession laws will witness changes, altering who is considered legal heirs and how property is acquired.
- Inheritance laws will undergo modifications, challenging the preference for full-blood relations over half-blood ties.
- Adoption laws will see uniformity, allowing communities previously restricted from legal adoption to explore this option.
- Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) dynamics will shift with the abolishment of tax, insurance, and investment exemptions, impacting financial aspects for Hindu families.
- The UCC will introduce uniformity in Christian marriages, transcending differences in interpretations of permanence or as a contract.
- Divorce procedures and rules will be standardized, bringing consistency within the Christian community.
- Succession laws affecting Christian mothers’ rights to inherit property will undergo changes.
- The Anand Marriage Act of 1909, governing Sikh marriage laws, may see the introduction of a common law for divorce, impacting all communities.
- The UCC will address disparities in adoption laws within the Parsi community, recognizing the rights of adoptive daughters and expanding inheritance rights for adopted sons.
- Inheritance rules will be revised, ensuring that children of Parsi women marrying outside their community have the right to inherit property.
As the Uttarakhand Assembly considers approving the UCC draft, the state stands poised to set an exemplary model for others, including Gujarat and Assam, to follow suit. This historic move promises a more egalitarian and unified legal framework for diverse communities in India.