Uttarakhand cabinet approves UCC draft ahead of special assembly session

The Uttarakhand Cabinet has granted approval to the final version of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) on the eve of a special four-day session in the state Assembly, starting Monday.

The decision was made during a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, newswire PTI reported.

The special session of the Assembly has been convened especially to pass the legislation on the UCC and make it an Act. The cabinet approval of the draft was needed for its introduction in the Assembly.

If UCC is implemented, BJP-ruled Uttarakhand will become the first state in the country after Independence to adopt it. A UCC has been operational in Goa since the days of the Portuguese rule.

A Uniform Civil Code for Uttarakhand was a major election promise by Dhami in the 2022 assembly polls.

The final draft of the UCC running into 740 pages in four volumes was submitted to Chief Minister Dhami here recently by a five-member panel headed by retired judge of the Supreme Court Ranjana Prakash Desai.

The special session of the Assembly, starting on Monday, will go on till February 8.

The BJP`s landslide victory for a second consecutive term in power in Uttarakhand has been attributed on many occasions by the chief minister to the pre-poll promise of a UCC.

After becoming chief minister for a second consecutive term, Dhami accorded top priority to fulfilling his pre-poll commitment, announcing the constitution of a committee to prepare the draft of the UCC at the first meeting of the state cabinet after assuming office.

The Committee formed in May 2022 took nearly two years and four extensions to prepare the draft and submit it to the chief minister here on Friday.

Implementation of the UCC will provide a legal framework for uniform marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance laws for all citizens across all faiths in the state.

The panel received 2.33 lakh written suggestions online and held more than 70 meetings in which the members interacted with around 60,000 people in the course of preparing the draft.

On the day the final draft was submitted to the chief minister, he expressed hope that many states would follow the example of Uttarakhand and use the template provided by the state to implement the UCC. (With inputs from PTI)

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