Uttarakhand’s Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, table the state proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill in the legislative assembly on February 6th. The bill, aimed at addressing live-in relationships, marks the first of its kind in any Indian state since independence.
The proposed legislation mandates that partners in live-in relationships, whether residents of Uttarakhand or not, must submit a statement of their relationship to the Registrar within the jurisdiction where they reside.
According to the bill, individuals staying in a live-in relationship for more than a month without registering it may face penalties, including imprisonment up to three months or a fine of up to Rs 10,000, or both. Those providing false information about their live-in relationship to the Registrar may incur a higher fine in addition to a three-month imprisonment.
The bill also addresses the rights of women in deserted live-in relationships, allowing them to claim maintenance from their partners through a competent court with jurisdiction over their last live together place.
However, the introduction of the bill did not go without tension. Leader Yashpal Arya accused the government of sidestepping legislative traditions by avoiding a thorough debate. Despite the discord, opposition members were assured of additional time to scrutinize the bill.
The UCC bill extends its coverage to all residents of Uttarakhand, both within and outside the state boundaries, with the exception of Scheduled Tribes. live-in relationships involving minors or those based on force or fraud will not be registered. The bill imposes a higher fine, coupled with three months’ imprisonment, for providing false information during the registration process.
The bill is scheduled to come into operation, making Uttarakhand the first state post-Independence to adopt the UCC. This fulfils a significant promise made by the BJP during the 2022 Assembly elections.
Speaking to The Hans India women activist Sandhya Rani said that “It’s shameful; Now, the proposed bill, which is taken before uttarakand, I say it’s against the fundamental rules. The bill should state that a couple should register their relationship as marriage. They should register into the legal marriage relationship that They are going to marry.
Further she said, the proposed bill in Uttarakhand, mandating a one-month registration for couples intending to marry, faces significant backlash over privacy concerns. Critics argue it encroaches on personal liberties, questioning the state’s role in regulating personal relationships. The subjective one-month requirement is seen as overlooking the diversity of circumstances in different communities. Advocates emphasize the need for laws respecting individual autonomy and cultural practices.