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Uttarakhand UCC: New Divorce Laws, Polygamy Ban – Here’s What You Should Know!

The proposed legislation seeks to unify socio-cultural norms, promote gender equality, and foster social cohesion

Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a significant legislation proposed by the legislature of Uttarakhand, aiming to establish a single socio-cultural code applicable to all communities, irrespective of religion or caste. This move, led by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas’ and ‘Ek Bharat, Sreshtha Bharat.’

The UCC draft incorporates recommendations gathered through extensive public engagement, including 233,000 written feedback forms and over 70 public forums, involving nearly 60,000 individuals. The proposed code addresses various aspects of civilian life, such as marriage, divorce, land, property, and inheritance laws, with the aim of fostering gender equality and social cohesion.

Image: News18

Key recommendations of the UCC include a complete ban on practices like polygamy and child marriage, standardization of divorce procedures, and uniform marriageable age for girls across different faiths. Additionally, the draft proposes mandatory marriage registration, extension of inheritance rights, and measures to facilitate girls’ education before marriage.

Furthermore, the UCC draft emphasizes the importance of legal documentation, stating that couples who fail to register their marriages will be ineligible for government facilities. Notably, the proposed code extends adoption rights to all, including Muslim women, and seeks to ban practices like halala and iddat, promoting simplification of adoption procedures and recognition of live-in relationships.

The UCC draft also addresses issues related to property rights, eliminating distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children and ensuring equal treatment for adopted and biological children. In case of a person’s demise, the proposed code grants equal property rights to the spouse, children, and parents, a departure from previous laws that limited such rights.

However, certain aspects, such as population control measures and provisions for Scheduled Tribes, have not been included in the draft. Nonetheless, if enacted, the UCC would make Uttarakhand the first state in post-Independence India to adopt such legislation, following Goa where it has been operational since the Portuguese colonial era.

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