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Uttarakhand govt to implement Uniform Civil Code soon, says Pushkar Singh Dhami ahead of swearing in

The provision to set up Uniform Civil Code has been laid down in Article 44 (Part IV) of the Indian Constitution. UCC has been included in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) and can be implemented by the State governments. They are not enforceable by courts.

On Tuesday, Pushkar Singh Dhami, who is all set to swear-in as the 12th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, assured that the newly elected BJP government would implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the hill state, as promised before the election.

According to the reports, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister-designate Pushkar Singh Dhami said soon after cabinet formation, his government would set up a committee of experts to draft a framework for implementing the UCC.

The CM-designate said that the committee would include judicial experts, retired personnel, intellectuals from various fields and other stakeholders. The committee will hold a wide range of consultations before preparing the draft, he said, adding, “UCC is a promise made by me to the people of Uttarakhand, and we will soon introduce it in the state.

On February 12, the BJP had announced that if voted to power, the government would bring in UCC to provide equal rights to everyone in the state.

Chief Minister Dhami had said the UCC would provide a legal framework for marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance for all citizens irrespective of their faith, adding that the reform would bring social harmony, end gender-based discrimination and strengthen women empowerment.

Uttarakhand will be the second state in India to have Uniform Civil Code after Goa. Presently, Goa is the only state with UCC, which goes back to the times of annexation of Goa. India had retained the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 that applied to all state residents, irrespective of their religion. All marriages in the state are registered under the Goan Civil Code. 

The CM-designate also added that his government would fulfil other promises made in the manifesto to take development to the last village of the state.

“We want people in remote and far-flung areas to benefit from our government’s schemes. By electing BJP with a two-thirds majority, the people of the hill state have already hinted towards the outcome of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” the Chief Minister said.

The BJP had won 47 of the 70 seats in the recently held assembly elections, the results of which were announced on March 10.

The long-standing demand for Uniform Civil Code

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has been a long-standing demand of the BJP. UCC overrides personal laws and calls for similar rules for adherents of different religions in civil matters, including marriage, divorce, adoption, succession, and maintenance. The Supreme Court of India even recommended UCC during the infamous Shah Bano case of 1985.

Currently, the Hindu Personal law applies to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, while the non-codified Muslim personal rules are based on the Shariat Law of 1937. Similarly, marriages and divorces in the Christian community are governed by the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 and the Indian Christian Marriages Act of 1872. Zoroastrians are governed by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936.

The provision to set up Uniform Civil Code has been laid down in Article 44 (Part IV) of the Indian Constitution. UCC has been included in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) and can be implemented by the State governments. They are not enforceable by courts.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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