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NAVIGATING THE UNIFORM CIVIL CODE - INSIGHTS INTO UTTARAKHAND’S BOLD MOVE

The introduction of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Uttarakhand has ignited discussions across the country, rekindling debates surrounding personal laws, secularism, and individual rights. Under Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Indian Constitution, the state is directed to secure a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. Uttarakhand's recent move to implement a UCC marks a significant step towards realising this constitutional mandate.




Furthermore, the Uttarakhand government has clarified that members of Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities will be exempt from the purview of the UCC. This exemption is based on constitutional provisions that protect the rights of ST communities and ensure their distinct cultural identity. While this provision acknowledges the diversity within Indian society, it also raises concerns about potential gaps in legal uniformity and equal treatment under the law.


 


Critics of the Uttarakhand UCC have raised valid concerns regarding the powers granted to registrars and law enforcement agencies. The bill empowers registrars not only to accept or deny registration statements but also to recommend police action. Additionally, the register of marriages is open to public inspection, raising apprehensions about privacy and potential misuse of personal information. Critics fear that this surveillance regime could be exploited to target and harass interfaith and intercaste couples, undermining their rights and freedoms.


As the implementation of the Uttarakhand UCC unfolds, it is essential for policymakers to address these concerns and ensure that the legislation upholds the principles of justice, equality, and individual liberty. While the pursuit of a uniform civil code is commendable in its aim to promote legal consistency and secularism, it must be accompanied by safeguards to protect the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their religious or cultural background. Only through careful deliberation and inclusive policymaking can the vision of a truly equitable and harmonious society be realised.


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