UCC bill in Uttarakhand

UCC bill in Uttarakhand

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of “UCC Bill in Uttarakhand”.This topic is relevant in the “Polity & Governance” section of the UPSC CSE exam.


Why in the News?

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami tables UCC Bill in the State Assembly. The UCC drafting group was chaired by Ranjana Prakash Desai, a retired Supreme Court judge.


Key Highlights of Uttarakhand’s UCC Draft Report


  • The committee’s key proposals include the prohibition of polygamy, halal, iddat (a mandatory period of waiting for women following the dissolution of a Muslim marriage), triple talaq, and child marriage, a uniform age for girls’ marriage across all religions, and mandatory registration of live-in relationships.
  • The proposed UCC seeks to promote gender equality by treating men and women equally in areas such as inheritance and marriage.
  • The Code is also likely to grant Muslim women an equal property stake, as opposed to the current 25% share granted under Muslim personal rules.
  • The minimum marriage age for men and women will stay the same: 18 years for women and 21 years for males.
  • The bill exempts Scheduled Tribes (STs) from its provisions. The state’s tribal population, which is roughly 3%, has been vocally opposing UCC since they were granted special status.


About the Uniform Civil Code


  • UCC aspires to replace distinct religious personal laws with a focus on marriage, divorcing, adoption, and inheritance, as governed by Article 44 of the constitution.
  • Article 44 of the Indian Constitution is a directive principle of state policy (DPSP). It emphasises that the state should work to create a unified civil code for all people of India.
  • This code would be a unified collection of personal laws that would apply to every citizen, irrespective of religion.
  • Goa is India’s sole state with a UCC, which follows the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867.


Law Commission’s Stance:


  • The 21st Law Commission, led by former Supreme Court judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, issued a consultation paper on “Reforms of Family Law” in 2018, stating that the “formulation of a Uniform Civil Code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”.
  • I recognise the passage of more than three years after the publication of the initial consultation document. In 2022, the 22nd Law Commission, led by Justice (Retd) Rituraj Awasthi, published a notification asking for feedback on the UCC from various stakeholders, including the general public and religious bodies.


The stance of the Supreme Court of India on UCC


  • In the Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano Begum case in 1985, the Court criticised the lack of execution of Article 44 and advocated for its full implementation. Such a demand was reinforced in the following cases, including Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India (1995) and John Vallamattom v. Union of India (2003).
  • José Paulo Coutinho vs. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira Case, 2019: The Court lauded Goa as a “shining example” where “the UCC is applicable to all, irrespective of religion, with the exception while safeguarding certain limited rights” and advocated for its nationwide implementation.


Status of Personal Laws in India


  • The Constitution’s Concurrent list includes personal law matters like marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Both the Parliament and the state legislatures have the authority to pass legislation on any of the issues included in the Concurrent List.
  • The Parliament codified Hindu personal laws into four parts in 1956:
  1. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  2. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956
  3. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956
  4. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956

In the context of these regulations, the term ‘Hindu’ encompasses Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists.

  • Muslim personal laws are not codified and are based on religious texts. However, certain aspects of them are expressly recognised in acts such as the Shariat Application Act, 1937, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, and the Muslim Women (Protection of Marriage Rights) Act, 2019.
  • Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews are also Subject to their laws.


Need for a Uniform Civil Code


  1. Equality and Justice: One of the UCC’s founding values is to promote equal treatment and justice for all citizens, regardless of religious convictions. It seeks to remove discriminatory practices and create a unified set of rules covering personal concerns such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
  2. Secularism: A UCC is viewed as a step towards reaching the constitutional Concept of secularism, which requires that laws not be based on religious concerns. It advocates that the state should not favour any specific religion and should treat all citizens fairly.
  3. Women’s Rights: Proponents of the Uniform Civil Code say that it will bring about gender justice by eliminating gender-based discriminatory practices seen in personal laws. This includes topics like divorce, maintenance, and inheritance, in which women may experience uneven treatment under current religious rules.

Criticism of the Uniform Civil Code


  1. Religious and Cultural Diversity: Critics believe that India is a diverse country with various religious and cultural customs and that enforcing a consistent set of rules may violate this diversity. They believe that personal laws enable communities to maintain their unique customs and traditions.
  2. Minority Rights: Some claim that a UCC may disproportionately affect minority communities since it is regarded as imposing majority ideals on them. There are fears that it may violate the rights of religious and cultural minorities to practise their traditions.
  3. Social Acceptance: Implementing a UCC may face opposition from diverse segments of society who are firmly committed to their religious practices. A lack of social acceptance may lead to noncompliance or opposition to the planned changes.
  4. Political Sensitivities: A Uniform Civil Code is a politically delicate issue that has been debated for decades. Policymakers may be cautious to address it because of the potential response from religious communities, and it frequently becomes a problematic topic during political debates.


Prelims practice question


Q1) Consider the following statements:

1) The main objective of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is establishing a theocratic state

2) A Uniform Civil Code covers criminal law

3) UCC primarily seek to protect the right to equality

How many of the above statements are correct?

a) One

b) Two

c) Three

d) None




Q2) Which personal matters does a Uniform Civil Code aim to govern?

a) Economic policies

b) Educational reforms

c) Matters related to religion

d) Marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption




Mains practice question


Q1) Examine the key provisions and principles that a Uniform Civil Code seeks to establish. How do these align with the values of equality, justice, and secularism?

Q2) Assess the impact of a Uniform Civil Code on women’s rights, focusing on aspects such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption. How does it contribute to or hinder gender equality?


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