From punishing unlisted live-in relationships to banning bigamy — Key takeaways from Uttarakhand UCC Bill

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The Uttarakhand government is currently perusing the Uniform Civil Code bill amid heavy criticism in the Opposition ranks. The document was tabled in the state assembly on Tuesday and proposes uniform marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance laws for all citizens irrespective of their religion. 

The common civil code will become law once it is passed by the BJP-majority House and gets the Governor’s consent. Several BJP ruled states in the country — including Gujarat and Assam — have expressed their keenness to follow the Uttarakhand UCC as a model.

Here are 5 key takeaways from the UCC Bill:

 

Uttarakhand’s tribal population has been exempted from the provisions.

“Nothing contained in this code shall apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribes…. and the persons and group of persons whose customary rights are protected under the Part XXI of the Constitution of India,” the bill says.

  • Regulation of live-in relationships 

Live-in partners in Uttarakhand will have to register themselves with district officials or face imprisonment under the state’s Uniform Civil Code. Children born of such relation will be considered legitimate and deserted women partner entitled to maintenance their partners.

The bill stipulates a penalty of up to a month in prison or a fine of 10,000, or both, if the partners do not submit a statement on their relationship to the registrar within a month. A higher fine apart from an imprisonment of up to three months can be imposed on any person who provides false information in his or her statement on a live-in relationship to the Registrar.

  • Ban on bigamy and polygamy

The UCC bill permits marriages only if “neither party has a spouse living at the time” — effectively prohibiting bigamy or polygamy. The conditions for solemnising a marriage also take “public policy and morality” into account and retains the ‘degrees for prohibited relationship’ exception. The marriageable age for all men and women has been set at 21 and 18 respectively.

Both men and women will enjoy equal inheritance rights under the new Bill.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 06 Feb 2024, 05:33 PM IST

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