On Sunday, the Uttarakhand Cabinet greenlit the draft report of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) panel, a mere few days after the five-member UCC committee submitted the comprehensive document to the chief minister.

Dehradun: Today, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami is poised to present the Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand, 2024, bill in the state’s assembly. This legislative initiative, aiming to supplant personal religious laws governing marriage and inheritance with standardized civil regulations, stood as a flagship promise in the BJP’s 2022 assembly election manifesto.

On Sunday, the Uttarakhand Cabinet accorded its approval to the UCC panel’s draft report, marking a swift response just two days after the submission by the five-member UCC committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai.

The bill is anticipated to smoothly navigate the assembly’s approval, given the BJP’s substantial majority with 47 members in the 70-strong house. Following assembly approval, the legislation will undergo scrutiny by the governor, the state’s constitutional head, before transforming into law.

The upcoming Uttarakhand assembly session, strategically convened for the bill’s presentation, may witness spirited debates between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress. On Monday, the inaugural session day, Congress MLAs revealed their objections by staging a walkout during a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee, protesting the decision to forgo the Question Hour.

Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Ritu Khandari, responding to the protest, emphasized the national importance of the UCC bill. She remarked on Monday that while the Question Hour holds significance, certain matters of extraordinary importance take precedence over routine procedural aspects of the House.

Subsequently, Congress MLAs submitted a letter to the Speaker, raising concerns about the constitutionality of waiving the Question Hour on technical grounds. They also contended that the ongoing session should not be designated as a special session since the previous session of the House had not been prorogued.

In anticipation of the session, Chief Minister Dhami expressed optimism about the UCC’s positive impact on all sections of society. He asserted that not only Uttarakhand but the entire nation has been eagerly awaiting the UCC, and its presentation in the state assembly will be a significant moment.

The assembly session on Tuesday is poised for a substantial debate on the UCC bill.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Law and Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal stated on Monday that the Law Commission of India is actively reviewing the necessity of implementing the Uniform Civil Code. He highlighted that this matter, discussed even during the framing of the Constitution, is currently under consideration and consultation with the Law Commission. Meghwal noted that states have the flexibility to adopt or enhance the UCC, citing the government of Goa as an example. He concluded by stating that as soon as the Law Commission provides its report, it will be shared with the public.

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