In a major development, the Uttarakhand Assembly bill will take up the Uniform Civil Code Bill for discussion and passing today. The UCC draft was approved by the Uttarakhand Cabinet led by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday. The common civil code bill proposes uniform civil laws for all communities in the state. The assembly proceeding will begin at 11 am today. The UCC will provide a legal framework for uniform marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance laws for all citizens, irrespective of their religion.

A committee appointed by the Uttarakhand government, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, has compiled a comprehensive four-volume report spanning 749 pages, offering a multitude of recommendations. The committee actively sought public input through 2.33 lakh written submissions online and conducted over 70 public forums. Through these forums, the panel members actively interacted with approximately 60,000 individuals, incorporating their perspectives and insights into the drafting process.

Key Features Of The UCC

Equal Property Rights

The Uniform Civil Code proposes to provide equal rights in property for both sons and daughters. The property right will stand even if the girl marries in any other religion. A 2005 amendment in the Hindu Succession Act 1956 already provides for married daughters to have an equal share as a son in their father’s property. 

Legitimate And Illegitimate Children

The Uttarakhand UCC bill also aims to abolish the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children concerning property rights. The bill specifies that all children would be recognised as the biological offspring of the parents and would have equal rights. Also, the bill gives equal footing and rights to children who are adopted, born through surrogacy, or born through assisted reproductive technology. The adoption process will be the same for all religions under the law.

Property Rights After Death

In the aftermath of an individual’s passing, the legislation ensures equitable property rights for both the spouse and children. Notably, this inclusive provision also extends such rights to the deceased person’s parents. This represents a significant departure from prior legal frameworks, where exclusive property rights were granted solely to the mother in the event of the individual’s demise.

Equal Divorce Rights, Maintenance

The UCC bill also provides for an equal divorce process and rights to men and women of every religion in the state. The Muslim Women Act, 2019 brought by the Narendra Modi government has already made instant triple talaq illegal. The maintenance law after divorce will be the same for all religions. 

Ban On Polygamy, Child Marriage

The bill also makes marriage registration mandatory for all religions. It also bans polygamy and child marriage, a common marriageable age for girls across all faiths. The bill also makes it mandatory to declare live-in relationships.

Ban On Halala And Iddat

The UCC bill seeks to ban Islamic practices such as halala and iddat which are considered unfair for women. Halala and iddat are Islamic practices a woman must go through after a divorce or the death of her husband.