Uttarakhand is going to become the first state in the country to follow the path of Uniform Civil Code. The Legislative Assembly of Devbhoomi is eager to discuss the draft of this law i.e. the bill. Although in today’s opinion of law, the state does not have such a right in the Constitution, but the Lakshman Rekha of how much the Legislative Assembly can do within its scope will also be decided through this. CM Dhami has made it clear that the purpose of the proposed UCC in Uttarakhand is not to target any section.
On May 27, 2022, the Uttarakhand government had formed an expert committee to explore the possibilities of preparing a Uniform Civil Code and to examine the laws related to all personal matters of the citizens. This bill is being considered as the foundation stone of realizing the much talked about concept of Uniform Civil Code or Common Civil Code in the country. But even before this issue is discussed in the Legislative Assembly, there are chances of political and religious uproar. This means that this law can become a big political issue before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
What will change with the new law?
Under these new laws, divorce will happen only through legal process. This means that all religious methods of divorce will be illegal in the country. Triple Talaq, prevalent in Islam or any other religion, has already become invalid and a punishable offense by the Supreme Court and then by the Parliament. Talaq-e-Hassan and Talaq-e-Ahsan will also come under the ambit of the new law. That is, these arbitrary and one-sided methods of divorce. Will also be considered illegal.
There is also a provision in the new law to curb the rising crimes of living together without marriage i.e. live-in relationship. Live-in information will have to be given to the government as per the prescribed procedure and in the prescribed format. That means there will be a provision for registration of these also. As part of the registration process, information about live-in relationship will also go to the parents of the boy and girl. Provision for punishment for not giving information has also been made. There is a provision in the new draft to ban polygamy, Halala and Iddat. Apart from this, there are indications of changes in the minimum age for girls to get married. There is doubt about increasing it to the age of boys i.e. 21 years, but the age will be fixed so that they can graduate before marriage.
There will be a provision to make marriage registration mandatory for everyone. Without marriage registration, the family or couple will not get the benefit of any government facility i.e. joint account, shared property etc. The facility and service of marriage registration will be available at the village level also. In the draft of the new law, there will be the same grounds for divorce as for marriage. The same grounds for divorce will be available to both husband and wife. The wife will also be able to take the same grounds for divorce as applicable to the husband.
Polygamy will be illegal
Currently, there are religious personal laws for followers of different religions. Under them, husband and wife have different grounds for divorce. In the draft of the proposed Common Civil Code, there will be a proposal to make religious law secondary and a new uniform law to be effective. Under the Uniform Civil Code, polygamy will be considered legally illegal and will be banned. That is, now without proper basis and approval of law, the legal husband will not be able to marry again while the wife is alive.
In the draft of the new Uniform Civil Law, under ancestral and family inheritance, girls i.e. daughters will also get equal share in ancestral property as boys i.e. sons. According to personal law, till now the share of daughter was less than that of son. But in the new law It has been said that it will be repealed and brought into equality. This proposed law has the solution to another big problem that is coming every day in the new era. In the compensation given to the wife on the death of an employed son, there is a provision that the wife will also be responsible for the maintenance of her elderly parents. But if the wife remarries after the death of her working husband, then the ratio of the parents’ share in the compensation received by the wife has also been fixed.
Adoption process will be easy
The wife’s parents have also been taken care of in the new draft. If the wife of one of the couple dies and there is no support from the wife’s parents, then the husband will have to bear the responsibility of their maintenance. If the son-in-law refuses to do so, then his in-laws and father-in-law can take the help of this law and obtain their legal rights. In the new proposed law, everyone will have the right to adopt a child or heir. Any man or woman, irrespective of their religious beliefs, will be able to adopt a child or a girl. That means this right will also be above religion, sect and gender. That means Muslim women will also get the right to adopt a child. The adoption process will also be made easier.
The process of guardianship will also be simplified in case the child is orphaned due to any natural disaster or family dispute. The child’s opinion and his future will be given more importance. In view of the disputes between husband and wife and the future of the children, the custody of their children can also be given to their grandparents after considering all the aspects. The Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly can discuss this proposed Common Civil Code prepared in the country during the winter session.